Union Railway has cancelled two consultancy contracts for the first phase of the UAE’s $11bn federal railway.

The project management consultancy contract awarded to Parsons-Systra in November 2010 has been cancelled. Systra has confirmed that it is no longer involved in the project. Union Railway is now considering two options: it might give the project management contract directly to US-based Aecom or it might decide to retender the contract entirely.

Union Railway declined to comment.

Union Railway Contracts
Contract Company Status
Financial adviser  UBS Awarded
Preliminary engineering (first phase) Atkins Awarded
Preliminary engineering (future phases) Parsons Brinckerhoff Cancelled
Independent safety assessor TUV Rheinland Awarded
Project management Parsons-Systra Cancelled
Sand study na Cancelled
na=Not available. Sources: MEED; Union Railway

Parsons-Systra, which is a joint venture consisting of US-based Parsons International and France’s Systra, was due to be project manager on the first phase of the railway. The first phase runs from the port of Ruwais to the gas fields in Habshan and Shah in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. This is known as stage zero. The joint venture would also have been project manager for the next stages of development, which are stage one, the rail network in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and stage two, which will see the rail network extend to the Northern Emirates (MEED 30:11:10).

Parsons-Systra was also supposed to supervise the entire first phase of development, including testing and commissioning, as well as a defect liability period once the project is complete. Part of Parsons-Systra’s role is to supervise the preliminary engineering work and contracts for stages one and two.

In another change, Union Railway has also cancelled the preliminary engineering contract that it awarded to Parsons Brinckerhoff for stages one and two of the project. The UK’s Atkins won the contract to carry out preliminary engineering for Stage 0 [first phase] on 9 November (MEED 9:11:10).

Atkins will now carry out preliminary engineering for all stages of the railway. In December 2010, Union Railway also said it had cancelled the tender for a study for the impact and mitigation of dune sand on the railway. The study will now be carried out as part of the construction package.

The reason for the cancellation of these contracts is unknown.