26 April 2016
DAMMAM -- The GCC Railway, which link the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council by 2018, is expected to create more than 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, said Abdurrahim Naqi, secretary-general of GCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
"This is a strategic and vital project for the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council," he said.
Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Naqi said the project would boost the GCC economies and create more job opportunities for Gulf citizens in various sectors.
Beginning from Kuwait City and ending in Muscat, the total cost of the 2,117-km railway is estimated at $15.4 billion, including the cost of two new causeways.
Passenger trains will operate at a speed of 220 km per hour while goods trains will run at 80-120 km per hour.
Naqi did not rule out the possibility of linking the GCC railway with King Salman Causeway that would connect Saudi Arabia with Egypt. "Officials working on the causeway are studying possibility of this linkage," he said, adding that both projects would accelerate business activities in the region.
In a recent statement, the Saudi Railway Organization said the GCC governments have given top importance to the railway project.
The GCC states have appointed international consulting firms to conduct studies on various aspects of the project. Financial and technical committees have been set up to prepare detailed studies and designs, Naqi said.
Studies would lead to the preparation of the project's roadmap, feasibility studies, time frame for implementing various phases, identification of railway routes and preparation of the engineering design, the GCC chamber chief said.
The railway will begin from Kuwait City and will pass by Dammam to reach Bahrain through a new causeway to be established parallel to King Fahd Causeway. From Dammam it will be connected with Qatar through Salwa border point.
The railway will also pass by the proposed Qatar-Bahrain Causeway. It will then move from the Kingdom to the UAE through Batha border point. It will then reach Muscat via Sohar, bringing the total length of the railway to 2,116 km with 663 km of it in Saudi territory.
According to informed sources, the railway will be constructed following international specifications.
"It will have state-of-the-art communication and signal systems in addition to advanced operation and maintenance systems," said an SRO official who requested anonymity.
© The Saudi Gazette 2016