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Union Railway awards two consultancy contracts

US firms snaps up project management and engineering mandates

The two contracts cover three stages of development. Picture for illustration only.
The two contracts cover three stages of development. Picture for illustration only.

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Union Railway, the master developer of the cross-country rail network in the UAE, has awarded two contracts to US consultants as the $11bn, 1,500 km project moves from concept to reality.

US-based Parsons-Systra, a joint venture between US-based Parsons and France's Systra, is to provide project management services, winning the largest contract for the project to date.

The company will implement Stage 0 of the project (the Shah Habshan Ruwais railway) and part of the next two phases: Stage 1 – the Abu Dhabi and Dubai and network; and Stage 2, which entails work on the northern Emirates.

Part of Parsons-Systra’s role as PMC will be to supervise the preliminary engineering work for Stages 1 and 2, the contract for which Union Railway has also announced today.

New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff has been named the preliminary engineering consultant for Stages 1 and 2. The company will be to finalise the concept then prepare the preliminary design and the tender documents for the construction of Stage 1 and 2 of the network, under the management of Parsons Systra.

“The development of an integrated railway network signals a new era for the UAE’s transport system,” said Union Railway CEO, Richard Bowker, who yesterday gave an update on the project at the Roadex-Railex Leaders in Rail conference in Abu Dhabi.

“The appointment of a Project Management Consultant at the same time as a Preliminary Engineering Services Consultant marks a critical milestone in the progress of the project, as we now move from the concept stage to the actual implementation stage.”

Jeffrey F. Squires, president of Parsons MENA, said: “The Union Railway project is one of the most exciting transport projects currently underway in this region. We share with Union Railway a commitment to building an integrated transport network for the UAE and look forward to working on the project.”

Slav Marjanovic Parsons Brinckerhoff’s operations director for the Middle East and Northern Africa region, said: “We are delighted to be appointed to undertake the preliminary engineering for the second two phases of the visionary Union Railway Project.”

For the stage 0 of the Union Railway project - the Shah-Habshan-Ruwais route - Parsons-Systra will be responsible for  project supervision, including testing and commissioning, and a defect liability period once the project is complete.

It is more than a year since the board of Union Railway – which includes Dr Nasser Saif Al Mansoori, head of the National Transport Authority of Abu Dhabi - met for its first meeting to plan the groundbreaking infrastructure project. After connecting the seven emirates, the railway will connect the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat city in the West and Oman via Al Ain in the East. It is part of the AED304.4 billion the biggest emirate has earmarked for transport infrastructure investments.

In the final week of June this year Abu Dhabi Freight and Passenger Committee opened its doors to prequalify for civil and track work for the first phase of the country-wide Union Railway project, among other contracts.
 

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