Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) has 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.

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

In late February, Qatar issued conditional letters of award to the Aktor-led group and the consortium of Germany’s Hochtief, the local Al-Jaber Trading, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), the local Marbu Contracting Company and the local/German Lusail Hochtief.

The letters were issued to give contractors a final chance to submit their best commercial offers.

Firms submitted fresh prices at the end of last year. 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.

Qatar Rail has also received bids for the 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.

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.

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 is also developing a long-distance rail line. In early March, Qatar Rail awarded a joint venture of US-based Parsons International and France’s Systra, a consultancy services contract for the design of the Qatar Long Distance Railway Network.

The network will provide freight and passenger services nationally within Qatar and internationally to neighbouring countries Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The 400-kilometre section, which includes six freight facilities, a depot and seven passenger stations, will be integrated with the new Doha Metro and will also form part of the GCC rail network.