Rail is Qatar's biggest World Cup infrastructure challenge

30 May 2011

Doha has just 10 years to build its metro

Timeline for Qatar integrated railway project

2008: Qatari Diar and Deutsche Bahn sign MoU to develop rail projects

Nov 2010: PQs received for Doha metro consultancy

Feb 2011: Consultants prequalify for metro. PMC bids invited for West Bay people-mover

Mar 2011: PMC bids invited for Lusail LRT

Apr 2011: Aecom-Parsons wins PMC for Lusail LRT

End 2011: Civil works tender due for West Bay. Construction due to start on Red Coast

Jun 2011: PMC award due for West Bay

Sep 2012:; Civil works award due for West Bay

2016: Testing and commissioning of freight railway to start

2017: Testing and commissioning of Red Coast Line to start

2026: Entire rail programme complete

MoU=Memorandum of understanding; PMC=Project management consultancy; PQ=Prequalification; LRT=Light-rail transit. Sources: MEED; Qatar Railway Development Company

Of the estimated $100bn infrastructure projects planned for Qatar as it gears up to host the Fifa World Cup in 2022, executing its metro network is expected to be the biggest challenge.

Contractors in Doha already expect the metro to be the most challenging aspect of the World Cup infrastructure programme. “Everything else has been done for the Asian Games [in 2006] on a smaller scale,” says a Doha-based contractor. “For that event they built hotels and stadiums, maybe not as many as the World Cup needs, but they still built them. For the rail, that is something different.”

Doha has just over 10 years to build, test and commission at least two lines of its metro system in time to host the event. The construction of Dubai metro, which comprised just one line, took more than six years to design and complete after several years of planning.

Work on the rail network is already preparing to start. Qatar Railways Development Company has already started to move on its $35bn-worth of rail schemes. It has received bids from companies to supply rolling stock for the Lusail light railway transit (LRT) project in Lusail City.

Companies submitted bids to supply 34 trains at the end of May. Bids are now under evaluation, with the contract expected to be awarded later this year.

QDVC, a joint venture of Qatari Diar and France’s Vinci Construction will carry out the civil works for the LRT project. The project management consultancy contract was awarded to a consortium of the US’ Aecom and Parsons in early April (MEED 7:4:11).

Qatar’s proposed rail projects were instrumental to Doha winning the right to host the Fifa World Cup in 2022.

Another major project is the West Bay people-mover. Bids for the project management consultancy contract were submitted on 29 March, with the contract expected to be awarded in June. Bids have also been received for the systems contract and are under technical evaluation. Interviews will be held in the first week of June, with preferred bidders to be announced at the end of the second quarter. The contract covers supplying systems, rolling stock and operations. The people-mover will have 66 cars when the project is complete, with about 143,000 people expected to use it every day.

Bid documents had been prepared for the civil works contract, but these are now being reviewed and updated. The document is expected to be complete by late 2011 with the contract itself due to be awarded in September 2012.

The most important rail project is the Doha metro. The project will comprise four lines, the Red Coast line, Green Education line, Blue City line and the Golden Historic line. The entire network will run 358 kilometres across Doha when complete. The metro will have 100 stations with 100 trains in operation and will serve 12 of the World Cup stadiums.

The first phase of the metro to be executed is the Red Coast line. This will connect New Doha International airport and the town of Mesaieed with West Bay and Lusail.

Construction of the Red Coast line and the integrated freight railway is expected to begin by the end of the year. Testing and commissioning of the metro line is expected in 2017 and 2016 for the freight railway.

Qatar’s entire railway development programme is expected to be fully complete by 2026.

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