Oman’s Supreme Committee for Town Planning is expected to complete prequalifying companies for the first two contracts of Oman’s national railway in early 2011.

The two contracts include the design and supervision services contract and the project management consultancy contract.

Companies submitted prequalification documents for both contracts in June. About 32 companies submitted prequalification documents for the design and supervision services contract, while about 33 companies submit prequalification documents for the project management consultancy contract (MEED 20:6:10).

The railway will be constructed in three phases. The first phase will comprise a 230-kilometre line that runs from Sohar to Muscat. The second phase will be a 560km line running from Muscat to Duqm. Oman may then decide to extend the line to Salalah, which would involve building another 580km of track.

Later plans may also see the railway extend into Muscat city itself, which would involve building a metro system.

France’s Systra and the local National Engineering Office have carried out the feasibility study for the project.

Once the railway is complete, it will link up with the UAE’s railway and form part of the wider GCC rail network. Oman, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait are working on developing their own railway networks that will form the GCC railway network once they are all complete.