Dubai: Work on the design of Dubai Tram’s phase two will begin this year as the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) studies extension of the swanky rail system, Gulf News can confirm.
According to a senior RTA official, consultants have been appointed to work on the design of the tram’s next phase and the feasibility studies for the expansion are currently under way.
Speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the Middle East Rail conference, Abdul Mohsin Younus, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency, said: “We have already appointed engineering consultants to work on phase two of Dubai Tram. The study has already started and is expected to end later this year. Once we are through with the feasibility of the project, we will announce the next phase.”
The 11-kilomotre-long phase one went into service in November 2014, running a fleet of 11 trains on a network that runs along Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence. The tram is currently served by 11 stations.
The second phase of the transit system, which is used by 18,000 people daily, has been eagerly anticipated by commuters and other stakeholders.
However, he did not give the exact date of the start of construction work.
Younus said the design phase will finalise the route alignment, the number of stations as well as the number of trains that need to be procured.
Though he didn’t confirm the total length of the planned extension, which was earlier reported to stretch for five kilometres, he added that the study will finalise the length of the next phase, which could be more or less than five kilometres.
“We are studying a two-pronged extension of the tram network, with one section heading towards Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the other section linking with Mall of the Emirates metro station. We will finalise the details of the route once the study is completed,” he said.
The RTA had earlier announced that the phase two will have seven stations, while 14 new trains will bee added to the network, however, Younus didn’t confirm these details.
The RTA’s master plan also includes a third phase extension that is likely to run along Jumeirah road all the way to 2nd December Street intersection.
Route 2020 on track
Younus said that work is currently under way on Route 2020, a 15km-long extension of Dubai metro that links Al Maktoum International Airport and Dubai Expo 2020 site with the Red Line at Nakheel Harbour and Towers station.
He said construction has begun at the site of Expo 2020 and will continue to move towards Red Line as per the schedule. Operations on the extended line is expected to begin in April 2020.
“The work is progressing according to the plan. We have achieved certain milestones and the programme is going according to schedule and hopefully we will complete the project ahead of time,” said Younus.
The contract for the Dh10.6-billion project was awarded to Expolink, a consortium of French, Spanish and Turkish firms, in June and the foundation stone was laid in September last year.
Younus said the RTA continues to explore Hyperloop as a next generation transport mode and the study will take some more time to work out the feasibilities.
“There are a lot of challenges that we are working on, we have to regulate the system as well as looking at the safety aspect of the system because it is a new technology,” he said.
He added it is still too early to say anything about the implementation of the system in Dubai.