The annual MEED MENA Rail & Metro Summit has been informed that rail and metro projects worth a total of $300bn are currently being planned or under construction in the Middle East.
MEED Projects director of analysis Ed James said: "Every single country in the MENA region has rail project ambitions.
"Not all of these projects will go ahead, but the figure is indicative of the scale of what is happening."
According to James, Saudi Arabia had rail projects worth more than $100bn including the ongoing Riyadh-Dammam high-speed rail and the Eastern Province Municipality-Dammam Metro.
On the other side, Qatar manages $40bn worth of rail and metro project pipeline while the UAE has a series of projects worth $30bn.
In addition, other countries in the region such as Egypt, Iran, Kuwait and Oman, are likely to see large investments in various rail projects.
According to Fluor UAE programme manager Dago Beek, most of the undergoing projects in the region are expected to be completed by 2022.
However, the major technical challenge of carrying out rail projects in the region is to deal with sand dunes drifting across the alignment of railways passing through deserts.
The summit has put forward a possible solution as arguing that the use of viaducts of about 3m in height, upon which railways would run, will help to resolve this issue.
Image: Experts discuss rail and metro opportunities and challenges in the region at MEED MENA Rail and Metro Summit 2014. Photo: courtesy of MENA Rail and Metro Summit 2014.