Muscat: The cost of railway project connecting the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including the linking of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia through a bridge, is expected to be around $15.4 billion, according to Oman News Agency.
The total length of the railway track is estimated to be 2,117 km, starting from Kuwait passing through the other GCC countries and ending in Oman, according to Abdullah Al Shibli, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Affairs at the General Secretariat of the GCC.
Al Shibli said that the GCC railway project approved at the 30th GCC summit in 2009, has begun with the preparation of a detailed engineering design and the establishment of the Gulf Railway Authority to supervise and execute the project in the shortest possible time as per the best global standards.
He added that the GCC Railway Network will provide jobs in the transportation and support services to GCC nationals, helping to reduce unemployment, develop human resources and encourage growth of industries.
The railway track would begin from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia via Dammam and then to Bahrain, Al Shibli explained. He added that Qatar and Bahrain would be linked through the Salwa Post, and from Saudi Arabia it would go to the UAE and then to Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, finally ending at Muscat via Sohar.
The speed of passenger trains would be approximately 220km/hour, Al Shibli said, while freighter trains would run at a speed of 80-120km/hour.
“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.
It is expected that the GCC Railway project will be completed by 2018, incorporating the latest designs and by overcoming the challenges during the implementation of the project.