Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) has invited companies to prequalify for construction contracts on Qatar’s Long Distance Rail Network that will be part of the GCC regional rail network.

Contractors have been asked to return prequalification documents by 11 May. Tenders for the first phase construction contracts are then due to be released to a shortlist of prequalified contractors in late August. A contract award is expected in mid-March 2015.

Huge project

Phase 1 of the multi-billion dollar project is due to be completed in 2018. It involves building a 146 kilometre-long rail line from the border with Saudi Arabia to Mesaieed and the New Doha Port Project on the east coast of the peninsula and an inland station known as Doha West International that will connect to the Doha Metro network.

The line will be used for both passenger and freight services. The maximum speed for passenger services will be 200 kilometres an hour, and the maximum speed for freight trains will be 120km/hr.

Phase 1 has been split into three areas. Area 1 will be a 71km section of line that connects the Saudi border and a junction to the south west of Doha. The construction work will include 800,000 cubic metres of cut and fill, 14 highway bridges, one 160-metre-long rail bridge over a highway, 10 pipeline crossings, and 14 culverts and camel crossings.

Connecting countries

Area 2 will involve the construction of a 32km line from the junction to the south west of Doha to an intermodal freight yard, and a 30km line running on from the yard to Mesaieed port and industrial area. The construction work includes 900,000 cubic metres of cut and fill, nine highway bridges, four rail bridges over highways ranging from 50m to 465m in length, 22 pipeline crossings, and 12 culverts and camel crossings.

Area 3 will involve the construction of 23km of passenger line to Doha West International station. The construction work involves three rail bridges crossing highways and seven pipeline crossings.

Phase 2 of the project is expected to be completed by 2021 and involves the construction of a 171km of railway line that will connect Doha West International station to Bahrain and Hamad International Airport. The maximum speed for passenger services on this line will be 350km/h.

Phase 3, which is programmed to be completed in 2027 will involve building 80km of railway line. This will cover the dualling of the second phase lines between Doha West International station and Bahrain together with links to Al-Khor and Ras Laffan. The passenger services will have a maximum speed of 250km/h. The freight trains will travel at a maximum speed of 120km/h.

2030 completion

Phase 4 is scheduled for completion in 2030. It involves building 128km of railway line, including a Doha Industrial Frieght link, the dualling of the first phase line connecting to the Saudi border. The maximum speeds on these lines will be 350km/h for passenger services and 120km/h for freight.

Future phases include a link across the Qatari peninsula from Doha West International station to Dukhan.

The outline design for the first phase is scheduled to be completed in August 2014. A joint venture of US-based Parsons International and France’s Systra, was recently awarded a consultancy services contract for the design of the Qatar Long Distance Railway Network.

Qatar over the past two years has been busy tendering and awarding construction contracts for the Doha Metro scheme.

Qatar Rail recently selected the consortium of Greece’s Aktor, Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi, STFA also of Turkey, India’s Larsen & Toubro and the local AlJaber Engineering for the estimated QR12bn ($3.3bn) contract to build the underground sections of Doha Metro’s Gold Line.

Fresh prices

A letter of award has been issued by Qatar Rail to the contracting consortium and a final contract is expected to be signed soon.

Firms submitted fresh prices at the end of 2013. Bids were originally submitted in early 2013, but after several months of evaluating bids, Qatar Rail decided to seek revised prices after it reduced the scope of some parts of the Doha metro scheme, including the Gold Line. The change was made so the company could concentrate on the key elements of the network it needs in place for the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Despite the reduction in scope, the Gold Line is the largest construction contract to be tendered for Doha Metro.

Earlier in March, Qatar Rail awarded a consortium of Spain’s FCC, Geneva-registered Archirodon Construction, Turkey’s Yuksel, and the local Petroserv a $700m contract to build a section of the Doha Metro.

The section of the Red Line includes building three stations at Barwa Village, Al-Wakrah and Qatar Economic Zone, and a 7-kilometre-long section of elevated metro line. The contract duration is 31 months.

Active project

Doha Metro was one of the region’s most active projects for contract awards in 2013. In late May and early June, Qatar Rail awarded construction deals for underground sections and two stations.

The estimated QR8bn Red Line South underground sections construction package were awarded to the consortium of the local/French QDVC, South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction and the local Darwish Engineering.

A team of Austria’s Porr, Saudi Binladin Group and the local HBK Contracting Company won the estimated QR8bn contract to build the underground sections for the Green Line.

The estimated QR8bn deal for the Red Line North underground sections was secured by a consortium of Italy’s Impregilo, South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction and the local Galfar al-Misnad Engineering & Contracting.

South Korea’s Samsung C&T, Spain’s OHL and Qatar Building Company won the estimated QR4bn contract to build two major stations at Msheireb and Education City.

Qatar Rail has also received bids for the metro’s systems, rolling stock and track work contract. Offers were submitted by Germany’s Siemens; a team of Italy’s Ansaldo STS and Spain’s CAF; and a group of three Japanese companies – Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Kinkyshario, and France’s Thales.

The technical bids are currently being evaluated. The commercial offers will be opened once the technical evaluation has been completed.

The six-year contract covers the design, integration, manufacturing, supply, delivery, testing and commissioning of the trains and other required equipment.