GCC rail track plan revealed

Rail project could cost up to $15.4 billion

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According to latest estimates, the GCC rail project could cost its member countries up to $15.4bn.

The railway track, which starts at Kuwait and continues through the GCC region before ending at Oman, is expected to be 2,117KM long according to Abdullah Al Shibli, assistant secretary-general for economic affairs at the general secretariat of the GCC.

Al Shibli claimed the track would begin at Kuwait and Saudi Arabia through Dammam, continuing to Bahrain. Qatar will be linked to Bahrain through the Salwa Post, he added, saying the track will continue from Saudi Arabia to UAE – at Abu Dhabi and Al Ain – before ending in Muscat via Sohar.

The passenger trains are expected to run at a speed of almost 220km/hr, Al Shibli said, and freight trains will operate between 80-120km/hr.

“The project will be executed as per the best global specifications and designs available in the railway sector, such as axial loads, signalling and communications, operations and maintenance systems,” Al Shibli said.

The GCC rail project, tentatively slated for completion in 2018, was approved at the 30th GCC summit in 2009, with work on the project commencing through the establishment of the Gulf Railway Authority, said a report by Gulf News.

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