Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to build $4.2bn rail project

15 February 2012 (Last Updated February 15th, 2012 18:30)

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have started discussions with private companies to build a $4.5bn, 90km rail line in 2014.

GCC rail network
Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have started discussions with private companies to build a $4.5bn, 90km rail line in 2014.

According to official sources, discussions in this regard are complete with recommendations, and an action plan and resolutions for the authorities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are in place to take the proposal forward.

Bahrain Transport Ministry acting under-secretary Shaikh Bader bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said the proposal is to have a build operate and transfer (BOT) project completed by the private sector to link this essential project from Bahrain to the GCC.

"The GCC leaders have agreed 2017 as the year of operation, so we are doing the blueprint for the target year of operation," added Khalifa.

"Each country will shoulder its own cost and we are working out the cost at the moment. It will be a private sector project which is overlooked by the government."

The engineering designs for the rail link between the two countries will be completed in late 2012 or early 2013 while construction work for this project will begin in 2014 and will be completed by 2017.

The proposed GCC rail link will commence in Kuwait and run towards the eastern Saudi city of Dammam, connecting with Bahrain through a bridge at King Fahad Causeway and ending at Qatar, linking with Salwa. Another line will link Bahrain with the UAE through Bathaa.

Upon completion, the railway line will also reach Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, to connect Oman through Sahar and Muscat and link Qatar and Bahrain via a bridge. Land acquisition is pegged at $3.1bn and the cost of purchasing locomotives at $1.8bn.

The proposed rail line is intended to improve travel and trade links between the six countries and will run trains with speeds of up to 350km/h. This rail project will form part of a $25bn GCC railway network spanning 2,117km, starting from Kuwait and traversing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to end-up in Oman, according to the Gulf Daily News.

Image: GCC railway network will be covering 2,117km, starting from Kuwait and traversing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to end up in Oman.