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2017: Railways Network Connecting the GCC States

Guiding Principle

Despite the existence of a railways network all over the world, the GCC states are almost the only countries in the world, which have not established railways network. However, it seems that this fact is going to change by 2017 as the GCC states have finally decided to establish a network which will link all the 6 states of the Gulf together.

A. Introduction

In order to start the implementation steps for the establishment of the first railways network linking the six states of the GCC altogether, the Saudi cabinet has assigned its Ministry of Transport (MoT) to prepare the required engineering blueprint for the establishment of the network.

Saudi Arabia is acting based on the mandate from the rest of the GCC state, which was granted to the Kingdom in the Ninth meeting of the GCC Ministerial Committee on Transport to prepare the ToR for the establishment of the network. This mandate was granted to Saudi Arabia based on its leading position in the Council, as well as being the owner of the first railway line amongst the GCC countries.

The Saudi MoT was assigned also to observe the implementation steps of the project in all the participating states in cooperation with the competent authorities in each state.

B. The Route

The proposed route of the project is to start from the coastal side of Kuwait to pass through the geographical territory of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar with possible extension through Bahrain to Qatar directly, followed by entering UAE with proposed stations in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah, after that to the city of Sohar in Sultanate of Oman and finally it will reach to its final station in Muscat the Omani capital. The overall distance of the project is estimated by 2,117 km long.

Since Saudi Arabia already have a railway linking the Saudi capital Riyadh with the city of Dammam on the eastern cost of the Kingdom which intersect with the proposed route of the new network, it is expected to link this line as well with the network.

C. Future Expansion

Moreover, the GCC officials are already thinking to link this network in future with other Arab countries outside the GCC, based on the agreement between the Arab countries of the Levant and the GCC countries to be connected by railways within the ESCWA region in order to find a transport system linking railways networks in the countries of the two groups (ESCWA and GCC). This expansion is expected to reach till Turkey from the west, and to reach to China from the east through linking the network to the former republics of the Soviet Union.

D. The Project Cost

The total cost of the project was estimated by US$ 15.4 billion, in addition to the cost for acquiring the land, which was estimated by US$ 3.1 billion and buying the trains and the trailers which was estimated by US$ 1.8 billion. The costs are meant to be distributed amongst the member states based on the cost of construction in each state.

Field work is expected to start in 2012, where the project shall operate by 2017.

October, 2011 Hany Kenawi
  Meyer-Reumann & Partners -Saudi Arabia
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