Qatar Rail issues tender for first phase of long-distance network

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Vyacheslav Argenberg / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Advancing on plans to build a long-distance passenger and freight network to connect cities within Qatar and across the Gulf, Qatar Rail has floated a tender for a company to oversee the project.

This week, the company invited bids from firms to oversee and manage the first phase of the project, as well as provide design and construction services management.

The move comes six months after pre-qualification tenders were launched for civil work on the long-distance rail.

GCC rail network map

Qatar Rail

GCC rail network map

At that time, Qatar Rail invited companies to submit their interest on separate civil works and railway systems contracts, which are expected to be awarded by the middle of next year.

The company said enabling works on the first phase of the project will start this year, but given the lengthy tendering process, it is unclear if that work will actually begin in the next few months.

Meanwhile, officials across the GCC have insisted that the rail will begin going online by 2018, but that deadline is looking increasingly unlikely for many of the countries involved.

Long-term goals

According to Qatar Rail’s website, the long-distance network will consist of five main lines that will be built in four phases:

  • Freight line from Mesaieed Port to Ras Laffan;
  • Mixed line (passenger and freight) from Doha to Dukhan;
  • Mixed line from Doha to Al Shamal;
  • Mixed line from Doha to Saudi Arabia; and
  • High speed passenger line from Doha to Bahrain.

During the first phase, Qatar has been tasked with constructing 148km of freight and passenger lines running up from the Saudi Arabian border, for use by diesel locomotives.

The plans for Qatar's long-distance rail line, once all phases are complete in 2030.

Qatar Rail

The plans for Qatar’s long-distance rail line, once all phases are complete in 2030.

The line would run some 71km northeast from the Saudi border before splitting.

Passenger trains would travel a further 23km to Education City – where travelers would be able to transfer to the Doha Metro – while freight service would head toward the new port and industrial area in Mesaieed.

The second phase, expected to be implemented by 2021, would extend passenger lines to Bahrain through a much-delayed causeway, and Hamad International Airport, at faster speeds.

The third phase would add links to Al Khor and Ras Laffan, and a second line to Bahrain, by 2027.

And the last phase would include additional freight lines and adding a second line to the original rail link between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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