Oman Rail CCO: GCC Rail is “going to go forward”

Oman Rail’s chief commercial officer says that he has absolute confidence in the long-term feasibility of the GCC Railway Network, despite predictions that the project will be delayed

The planned GCC Railway Network will go ahead despite delays, according to Oman Rail CCO, John Lesniewski.
The planned GCC Railway Network will go ahead despite delays, according to Oman Rail CCO, John Lesniewski.

The GCC Railway Network will go ahead, despite predictions that the project will be delayed.

This is the opinion of John Lesniewski, chief commercial officer of Oman Rail, who told Construction Week that he has absolute confidence in the long-term feasibility of a pan-regional rail network.

Lesniewski’s comments cast doubt on reports that Oman was reconsidering its participation in the GCC Railway Network following the UAE’s decision to suspend the tendering process for Stage 2 of Etihad Rail.

Whilst many are predicting that the pan-GCC project will run past its completion deadline, Lesniewski expects the regional rail network to move forward regardless of timeframe.

“The GCC Railway Network is not being connected right now,” he said, commenting on the periphery of Middle East Rail 2016. “Basically, [there is] a little bit of a delay period. Oman Rail [cannot] connect to a connection that doesn’t exist just yet.”

Lesniewski added that Oman Rail is currently awaiting an update with regards the probable delay period of the GCC Railway Network, which was most recently slated for 2018. Despite the delay, he confirmed that the Sultanate will push ahead with its domestic rail development programme.

“Our minister has decided that Oman needs to continue to develop its railway, and we have other sections of the track that might be suitable for development; to transport minerals or oilfield products, for example,” Lesniewski explained.

“Just because the GCC Railway Network has been delayed a little bit, [Oman Rail] is not going to stop working,” he added.

Nevertheless, Oman Rail’s CCO reiterated that he is in no doubt over the long-term feasibility of the GCC Railway Network.

“I know that Etihad Rail still holds [a GCC-wide network] as its dream,” he commented. “I work with the people in Saudi Arabia all the time, and they feel the same way.

“The [GCC] rail industry is there. There are just unfortunate physical and financial circumstances at the moment that are slowing things down.

“I think the delay will be adjusted and [the GCC Railway Network] is going to go forward,” Lesniewski concluded.

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