Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) says it is planning to tender the design and build contract for its long-distance rail project by 2017, along with other contracts related to the Doha Metro.

The scheme has been under precurement for two years, with prequalification documents released in March 2014.

The company prequalified 15 consortiums in August 2015 to bid for the long-distance rail design and build contract, and was previously aiming to release the tender in the first quarter of 2016.

The prequalified firms, which comprise mostly joint ventures formed between international and local contracting companies, include:

The 406km-railway will provide links between all of the major industrial areas of the country, including Ras Laffan Industrial City in the north, the port at Mesaieed in the south, and a spur to gas-processing facilities at Dukhan in the west. It will also form part of the GCC Railway network, with a link to Saudi Arabia near Abu Samrah, and a link to Bahrain over a planned causeway.

Phase one of the project 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, as well as an inland station known as Doha West International, which will connect to the Doha Metro.