Doha Metro in Qatar’s capital city will be one of the most advanced rail transit systems in the world. Phase one of the Doha Metro became operational in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The objective of the transport master plan for Qatar is to develop attractive, efficient and reliable public transport in the country. The requirements led for the proposal of a comprehensive railway network for future development in the Greater Doha area and in the state.

The rail transit system is part of the Qatar Government’s €130bn diversification and modernisation strategy involving public and private investments. The campaign also aims to reduce its dependency on natural gas exports.

The ground breaking ceremony of the project was held in October 2012 and construction commenced at the Msheireb interchange station, which will serve as a hub for the metro’s operations.

“The objective of the transport master plan for Qatar is to develop attractive, efficient and reliable public transport in the country.”

Doha Metro development

Doha Metro is part of a larger railway network, which consists of five modern and flexible railway systems integrated across the Persian Gulf. The larger network includes the development of passenger and freight rail transport systems, along with fast rail links to the international airport based on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) feasibility study.

The project involves development of a metro railway system in Qatar, in addition to long-distance and freight lines connecting the emirate with the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Currently in the planning stage, the GCC network aims to connect the six member states, namely Oman, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, with a 2,177km rail network. However, uncertainty surrounds the future of the Gulf Railway due to ongoing tensions between Qatar and other countries involved.

In August 2008, national development agency Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment appointed the German national railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) to produce plans for a railway network in the country.

DB International (DBI), the international wing of Deutsche Bahn, and Qatari Diar prepared conceptual designs for the consolidated railway network development in Qatar.

Qatari Diar and DB signed an agreement in November 2009 to form a joint venture, Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC), for implementing, developing and managing the conceptual design of the railway plan. Qatari Diar holds 51% and DBI owned 49% shares in the joint venture (JV) company.

In 2011, however, Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) purchased the shares held by DBI in the JV and became the sole owner of QRDC. The project is now being executed directly by Qatar Rail instead of QRDC, with support from DB International.

Doha Metro design details

Doha Metro will have an overall length of 300km with four lines, namely Red, Green, Gold and Blue.

With an estimated cost of $36bn, Doha metro will be built in phases and is expected to become one of the most modern railway networks in the world.

Phase one of the project also includes construction of all four lines and two major stations. Construction of this phase has been underway since 2013, while the final phase is expected to be completed in 2026.

Lines and routes of Doha Metro

The Red Line, also called Coast Line runs between Al Khor city in the north and Mesaieed town in the south via Lusail and Hamad International Airport. It is divided into two major segments, namely the North Line and South Line. The Red Line North will cover 55.7km and 18 stations between Msheiredb and Al Khor. The Red Line South will serve 12 stations on a 42.8km segment between NDIA / Messaieed and Msheireb.

The Green Line or Education Line will run along Al Rayyan Road and link Education City with the heart of Doha. It will originate at Industry Area-South and end at Al Rayyan Stadium, covering 31 stations on a 65.3km stretch.

The Historic Line or Gold Line will connect Airport City in the north with Al Rayyan in the south, running for 30.6km and covering 20 stations.

The Blue Line or City Line will be a 17.5km-long semi-circular line linking the West Bay and Airport City North areas along the main C-Ring Road and connecting four stations.

Doha metro infrastructure details

The four lines of Doha Metro will link the major locations of the city such as the Education City and West Bay, Lusail urban development area, Doha Airport, the business and conference centre, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums. The railway lines and infrastructure will be through tunnels, overhead railways and at the ground level.

Qatar Rail will build an east coast rail link between Ras Laffan and Mesaieed and a 180km high-speed link from Doha to Bahrain across the Qatar-Bahrain Causeway. The trains will have a speed of 350km/h on both the links.

A 325km freight line to the planned GCC rail network will be built as part of the project.

Other infrastructure projects include a light rail network serving residential developments, and a 100km long-distance rail transport line to Saudi Arabia with trains running at speeds of up to 200km/h.

Contractors involved

Project management and consulting engineering contract for the Red line was awarded to Jacobs Engineering in 2013, while a similar contract for the Gold Line and the main stations was awarded to a team comprising Louis Berger and Egis Rail. Hill International was contracted to manage the Green Line. The total value of these three contracts is estimated at $313.16m.

A QR55m ($15.1m) safety assessment contract was awarded to Lloyd’s Register in the same year.

A consortium led by Italian construction giant Impregilo that included South Korea’s S K Engineering & Construction and Qatar’s Galfar Engineering & Contracting received the design contract for the Red Line North in April 2013. The consortium will design and construct 13km of twin-bore underground tunnels and seven underground stations starting from Msheireb station.

Qatar Rail awarded the $1.82bn Red Line South design-build contract to the consortium led by QDVC, a joint venture between Qatari Diar and France’s Vinci Construction Grands Projects in June 2013,. The consortium, which includes South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction and Qatar’s Al-Darwish Engineering, will design and build a 12.8km dual-tube underground line between Msheireb Station and the New Doha International Airport, as part of the contract.

A consortium of Austrian contracting firm Porr, Saudi Binladin and HBK Contracting Company was awarded a $2.5bn contract in June 2013 for the design and construction of the Green Line between Msheireb and Al Rayyan Stadium.

A consortium of Samsung C&T, Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and Qatar Building Company (QBC) won a $1.4bn contract in the same month to build Doha Metro’s two major stations in Msheireb and Education City.

The FCC-led consortium, which includes Archirodon (Greece), Yüksel (Turkey) and Petroserv (Qatar), signed a $700m contract to build a 6.97km section of the Red Line along with three elevated stations in March 2014. A consortium led by Greek firm Ellaktor, alongside Yapi Merkezi and STFA from Turkey, India’s Larsen & Toubro and Qatari company Al Jaber Engineering, was awarded a $3.3bn contract for the design and construction of the Gold Line in April 2014.

In the same month, the SYSTRA-Parsons joint venture was awarded a €170m project management and work supervision contract for phase one of the Doha metro.

Atkins has been appointed as lead designer for the Gold Line and Red South Underground lines.

UNStudio was appointed as the principal architect for the Qatar Integrated Railway Project by Qatar Rail and will design more than 30 stations in phase one of the Doha Metro project in September 2014. Rolling stock contract for the metro project is expected to be awarded in 2015.

A consortium of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Mitsubishi Corporation, Hitachi, Kinki Sharyo and Thales submitted a bid for the turnkey construction of a fully automated driverless metro system in March 2014 and received a letter of conditional acceptance (LCA) in February 2015.

The package includes 75 sets of three-car trains, tracks, platform screen doors, a railway yard, a signalling system, power distribution, tunnel ventilation and telecommunications.

MHI will lead the consortium and be responsible for overall project management, system integration and tunnel ventilation work. It will also supply the power distribution system, platform screen doors and tracks.

The rail cars will be supplied by Mitsubishi Corporation in collaboration with Kinki Sharyo. Advanced communications-based train control (CBTC) signalling, telecommunications and security, integrated operational control centre and automatic fare collection systems will be supplied by Thales.

Hitachi will handle project management tasks partly, and facilities maintenance, including the delivery of special maintenance vehicles for the inspection of railway tracks and electric train lines.