The GCC Railway network linking the six GCC states is making good progress according to the Qatar Ministry of Transport.

Speaking at MEED’s Qatar Transport Forum in Doha on 16 September, Transport Ministry Representative Ahmed al-Emadi said that work had been completed on the project’s technical manuals and specifications:  “The GCC states have put the co-ordinates for the line on engineering maps, while specifications have been distributed to the relevant entities in each state.

“A study [for a link] between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is still being finalised, and we have also started to complete operational manuals.”

Al-Emadi underlined the benefits the network would bring. “The GCC Railway will provide job opportunities for GCC citizens and encourage imports and exports of commercial goods,” he added.

The multi-billion-dollar project will link Kuwait in the north with Oman in the east, with branch spurs into Qatar and Bahrain. Qatar’s section of the network is being handled by Qatar Rail. It recently announced the prequalification shortlist for the first phase design and build contract on the first phase of its portion of the network between the Saudi border and Doha.

The official opening date for the GCC Railway remains 2018, but this appears increasingly unlikely as no country has yet awarded any work on building the dedicated sections of their track.