Federal rail firm Union Railway says it will invite firms to prequalify for the first major construction contract for the $11bn national railway by the end of September.
The work involves carrying out civil works, earthworks and track.

The rail firm will also shortly invite material vendors to prequalify separately for the sleepers, ballasts and track. Prequalification has already been invited for the advanced works contract and also the rolling stock contract (MEED 6:9:10).

Union Railway has also appointed Abbott Risk Consulting and Good Harbor Consulting as the security adviser to the first phase of the project. It will now carry out safety and security risks and an independent safety assessment.

Richard Bowker, chief executive of Union Railway made the announcement during MEED’s Mena Rail Projects 2010 conference in Abu Dhabi. The preferred bidder for the study into the mitigation and impact of dune sand is also expected to be announced soon, Bowker says. The study will involve assessing the impact of sand on the construction and operation of the railway as the majority of the UAE’s network will be built in desert areas.

The successful firm will also have to build between 25-40 kilometres of test track in various locations to test the sand.

The scheduled completion date for the first phase at the end of 2013 is “absolutely the final date”, according to Bowker as that is when Abu Dhabi’s Adnoc will start operating its new sulphur facility. The railway will need to be ready in time to transport the sulphur.

The first phase of the railway involves building a 265-kilometre railway between the port of Ruwais and gas fields at Shah and Habshan. The first part of the work will involve building the line from Ruwais to Habshan, which will be able to transport 10,000 t/d of granulated sulphur. This will increase to 20,000 t/d when the line is completed to Shah.