In less than 5 months, the governments of the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have come a long way towards launching the “bullet train,” which indicates the depth of the relationship, agreement, and smooth dealing between the two brotherly countries, reports Al-Qabas daily.

The daily has learned that the Kuwaiti executive and supervisory authorities are racing against time to complete technical and legal approvals regarding paving the way for the implementation of the consultative agreement regarding the completion of a high-speed railway line that will connect Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Informed sources expected that all approvals related to the Kuwaiti side would be completed during the current month or next at the latest, in order to begin studying the financial, economic, and technical feasibility of the project, followed by the remaining steps to launch the subsequent stages, leading to the implementation process.

In June 2023, an Amiri decree was issued approving the agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia regarding the railway link project between the two countries. On September 26, the Saudi Council of Ministers also approved the railway link project agreement between Kuwait and the Kingdom, according to what was reported by the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Qabas learned that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, represented by the Ministry of Public Works and the Saudi Railway Company (SAR), agreed to appoint the French company SYSTRA — one of the world’s leading engineering and consulting groups specialized in public transport and mobility solutions. For more than 65 years, the Group has worked alongside cities and regions to contribute to their development by creating, improving, and modernizing their transport infrastructures — to implement the feasibility study.

Informed sources revealed that, according to this agreement to appoint one consulting company, the Ministry of Public Works completed the contracting documents, and addressed the Audit Bureau therein, in order to obtain its approval to approve the consulting company SYSTRA, and the amount contracted with it, so that the Ministry can sign consulting contracts for the financial and economic feasibility study.

The sources said that the cost of the feasibility study for the link project rose to $10.57 million, equivalent to approximately 3.270 million dinars, to be paid equally between the two parties, with 1.635 million dinars for each party. It is expected that SYSTRA will complete the feasibility study for the railway link project between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Within a period not exceeding 6 months.

The sources explained that according to the agreement concluded between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the project of the two brotherly countries is a separate project and different from the railway project of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Regarding the “Gulf Train”, the Public Authority for Roads and Land Transport about two months ago launched a special exercise to complete the feasibility study related to the project through the Central Agency for Public Tenders, and the offers of 9 local and international consulting companies competing to win the contract were accepted.

The sources indicated that the Roads Authority is now in the stage of sorting contracts to choose a company entrusted with conducting the feasibility study for the Gulf train project, expecting that the name of the winning consulting company will be announced before the end of this year.

The Kuwaiti-Saudi agreement stipulates that the railway line between the two countries will extend from the train station point located in the State of Kuwait — which will most likely be located in the south of the country — to the train station point which will be located in the city of Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Project highlights

— May 23, 2023, the Saudi Council of Ministers authorized the Saudi Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, or his representative, to discuss with the Kuwaiti side regarding a draft agreement between the government of the Kingdom and the government of the State of Kuwait regarding the railway connection project between the two countries.

— June 4, 2023, the agreement was signed in the cities of Riyadh and Kuwait through diplomatic channels.

— June 12, 2023, an Emiri decree was issued approving the agreement.

— September 26, 2023, the Saudi Council of Ministers approved the railway connection project agreement.

It is expected that within less than two months, Kuwait will sign a consulting contract to launch the project study process.

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