GCC railway completion date pushed back to 2021

The completion timeline for the 2,117km GCC Railway Network, which will form a passenger and freight route linking the six Gulf states, has been extended by three years

The 2,177-km-long GCC rail network timeline has been pushed out by three years, with completion due in 2021.
The 2,177-km-long GCC rail network timeline has been pushed out by three years, with completion due in 2021.

The construction timeline for the 2,117km-long GCC Railway Network has been pushed back by three years.

According to a senior Emirati official, GCC leaders have agreed to a new ‘ceiling’ of 2021 to complete the project.

The UAE’s Minister of Infrastructure and Development, Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, told reporters about the extended deadline, Gulf News reported.

Questioned on whether the oil price drop had influenced the decision to extend the construction timeline, Al Nuaimi responded: “I wouldn’t say no.”

In reference to a gathering of GCC leaders held in April 2016, Al Nuaimi added: “The objective of that meeting was to get greater coherence in terms of where each of the GCC states are in terms of the implementation of the project. It makes no sense to build your network if everyone else is several years from being able to launch it.”

The first phase of Qatar’s portion of the GCC Railway Network comprises a 143km rail line to its border with Saudi Arabia.

Although Qatar Rail floated tenders for a company to oversee the project last summer, it was later put on hold.

Speaking to Doha News in March 2016, Qatar Rail’s managing director, Abdulla Al Subaie, said that Qatar was waiting for its GCC neighbours to commence work.

“From our side, as Qatar Rail, we are ready. We need other GCC countries to start the work in order to be able to start our contract,” he said.

Ultimately, the long-distance railway network will form a passenger and freight route linking all six Gulf states.

 

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