UAE federal rail company Union Railway has invited contractors to submit formal expressions of interest in the contract to complete civil and tracks works for the first phase of the UAE’s $11bn national railway.

Union Railway schemes
Contract Status Award date
Studies for impact,  mitigation of sand Expressions of interest Jul-10
Advanced works Prequalification Jan-11
Civil and track works        Expression of interest Mar-11
Source: MEED, Union Railway

The invitations were sent out on 25 June and Union Railway has asked contractors to state their interest in the contract, which covers the design, procurement, construction, testing and commissioning of the work on a design-build basis, by 23 August.

The winning bidder will complete site preparation and site clearance work, earthworks including cut and fill operations at the Liwa sand dunes; the construction of utilities, access roads and highway diversions and buildings including warehouses and facilities for railway operations and maintenance; and trackwork which involves the supply and installation of ballast, sleepers, rails, switches and crossings.

Union Railway plans to issue the tender documents for the contract in November, and bid submission is scheduled for up to nine weeks after the documents are released.

The railway line will connect the Shah gas field in the south of the emirate with oil and gas processing facilities at Habshan in the southwest, and will be used to transport 10,000 tonnes a day (t/d) of granulated sulphur.  A later phase of the project will connect Habshan with distribution facilities at the port of Ruwais in the Western Region, and will be used to transport 20,000 t/d of sulphur.

Although Union Railway is developing the state railway network, which these lines will be a part of, the ultimate client on the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais railway is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).

The state energy giant and its subsidiaries are working on the $10bn development of the sulphur-rich Shah field and another $10bn scheme, the integrated gas development, which combined will boost the emirate’s sulphur production to 7 million tonnes a year (t/y) by 2015, up from 1.7 million t/y currently.

Union Railway’s Abu Dhabi Freight and Passenger Railway Committee has asked contractors to submit expressions of interest in an advanced works package for the project by 3 August.

The company plans to invite contractors to bid for the contract, which covers the construction of railway bridges in three locations and the identification of utilities for relocation and diversion along with the construction of project offices and a camp complex at Mirfa, in October.

In June, Union Railway invited firms to submit expressions of interest for a major study on the planned railway (MEED 1:6:10). The study covers an assessment of the impact of sand on the construction and operation of the railway.

The majority of the UAE’s network will be built in desert areas. An award of this contract is scheduled for July.

The $11bn UAE-wide rail network will eventually include lines extending from Abu Dhabi’s Western region through the UAE’s other emirates: Dubai, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah and Ajman.