It is scheduled that the route of the GCC train project starts from Kuwait via Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Kingdom of Bahrain through the proposed causeway to be built parallel to the King Fahd Causeway. And from Dammam to the State of Qatar through Salwa. The GCC train would also link Qatar with Bahrain via the Qatar – Bahrain Causeway to be established between them, and from Saudi Arabia through Al Batha to the United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi – Al Ain) and then to end up in Oman across Sohar to Muscat.
During the first months of 2013, the tender for the preliminary design began and in June of the same year the contract was awarded to Italferr. In addition, last summer the Project Manegement was tendered, for which three international consortia were selected: :
– Técnicas Reunidas, Ineco and the Lebanese Dar al Handasah,
– The South Korean Dohwa Engineering, Korea Rail Network Authority and First China Railway
– Parsons, Aecom and Systra.
The work is also challenging because only the access from the interior to the coastal city of Salalah, due to its orographic characteristics, presents great difficulties and important resources would be necessary for tunnels and viaducts, such as for example, having to cope in a not very long section large slopes until getting to sea level.
The network will be about 2,000 kms long and it will have a two-track design (gauge of 1,435 mm) for both passenger and freight traffic.
According to previous studies, the provision of 12,000 kilometres of track and about 10.2 million concrete sleepers will be necessary. Also, 35 kilometres of tunnels 45 km of viaducts and 39 kilometers of railway bridges will be constructed.
The works also include the construction of stations, service centers facilities for rolling stock, maintenance workshops and operation control centers.
Also, the acquisition of up to 85 locomotives, 30 diesel multiple units for passengers, 80 cars and 500 freight wagons is contemplated.
The total cost of the rail project connecting the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia by a bridge, is expected to be around €11,300 M, according to the Oman’s News Agency.
The expansion of the King Fahd Causeway Bridge Authority also forms part of the plans of the GCC rail link. It is a viaduct that connects Saudi Arabia and Bahrain by train, running parallel to the existing bridge of King Fahd, assigned exclusively to road transport and along which more than 20 million people annually circulate.
Purpose of the network
The GCC project will have a direct positive impact on the economies, will improve mobility and transport of goods among the GCC countries, and will support the freedom of movement of citizens and residents, therefore, increase regional investment.
From an economic perspective, it is expected that the GCC’s railway project will diversify the supply of transport, improve competition between different modes of transport and reduce transport costs in general.
As for the environmental aspect, the GCC railway has been considered with the intention of providing an efficient and environmentally friendly service, as well as a profitable alternative transportation. In general, it is expected that the GCC railway network contributes significantly to economic growth in the region, the development and prosperity of all member states of the GCC.
The table 1 shows the level of transport imported by all modes of transportation in the years 2004-2006, compared with the expected to be only transferred by train in 2016. The achievement of these expectations will add to the basket of the Gulf incomes what is estimated of 400 million dollars as a result of the transfer of goods imported and exported via the train.
With regard to passengers, the study predicted (table 2) the growing number of train users through the Gulf railway network by 37% between the years 2016-2028, and the table 2 shows a comparison between the forecast of passenger transport by different means of transportation.
Spanish Companies based in Gulf countries
■ Bombardier (Saudi Arabia)
■ CAF (Catar)
■ Danobat (United Arab States)
■ Getinsa (Saudi Arabia)
■ GMV (United Arab States)
■ Ineco (ASaudi Arabia and Kuwait)
■ Sener (United Arab States and Catar)
■ Siemens (Saudi Arabia)
■ Talgo (United Arab States)
■ Typsa (Saudi Arabia, United Arab States and Qatar)
Detail of participation of Mafex companies in the GCC project
Ineco has participated in the GCC Gulf Railway Network project with consulting work primarily in Kuwait and UAE.
United Arab Emirates railway network, “Etihad Railway Network”. It has conducted the tender projects for package C phase 2 and the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais section.