Consultants have been given another month to prepare their proposals for the consultancy services covering the preliminary design of Oman’s nationwide rail network.

Oman’s ministry of transport and communications has extended the deadline from the original date of 25 March to the 22 April. Consultants were initially invited to bid for the work in February.

The project is proving popular with over 30 companies having purchased the tender documents since it was floated.

Oman had previously tendered the railway project last year, but decided to retender the scheme in September.

Work resumed on the scheme at the beginning of the year when the Omani government identified the rail network as a priority investment in its 2013 budget. The government also announced it would use some of the billions of dollars of aid pledged by GCC governments to fund the development.

A tender for the project management consultancy package is expected to follow the preliminary design tender within the subsequent two to three months.

The launch of the tender marks another step toward the formation of a GCC-wide railway connection, which will see Oman’s network eventually connect with Qatar and UAE networks.