The Gulf Cooperation Council is seeking integration of the states

"In 2008 the Transport Ministers of the GCC approved the feasibility study for this infrastructure"

High Speed Rails in Arabian Peninsula

It is made up by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates. Among its objectives is to have coordination and interconnection among its member states. In the communications area, it has set up a project to create a common railway network.

The story of the Gulf Cooperation Council took its first steps in 2008 when the Transport ministers from the GCC approved the feasibility study for this infrastructure. A large part of the funding for this project is financed by the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as the largest stretch of the route will cross both countries, with 600km of tracks in each of them. The infrastructure will be managed by the governments, whilst operating and running the trains will be part of a concession. In autumn 2011 the Gulf Cooperation Council agreed to lay a rail network which would link all member states. After the inaugural session at the 21st GCC Summit, Abdul Rahman Hamad Al Attiya, its president, stated that the inter GCC rail network would be undertaken with an approximate investment of 23,000 million Euros, and should be completed as estimated by the end of 2017. As Al Attiya commented, the railway network would be built to transport goods and passengers.

The project, which will be divided into different stages, will start with the first stage of the network which will link Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. The second stage will link the United Arab Emirates and Oman; and the third will link the network of the United Arab Emirates to Saudi Arabia.

The total project will stretch over 1,000km. Although the work had been expected to have already started, it is expected that it will finally start in 2013 and is estimated to be finished in 2017. The consulting companies that are involved in the project are: Systra, Khatib & Alami Consolidated Engineering and Canarail.

"The total project will span 1,061km and will require an approximate investment of 23,000M€"

Later and with a broader outlook, the network will extend from the GCC countries to Jordan, Syria and Turkey. The next step would be a wider system, linked to transport links in Europe and Asia, through Turkey. Last January, Oman’s Minister for Transport and Communication confirmed more data related to the future rail network of the Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Thus the route will have more than 1,061km of track that will link Al-Buraimi and Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, to Wilayat, in Sohar (Oman) to later continue to Mascat and Duqm.

Rail boost

Meanwhile, the different countries that make the Arabian Peninsula plan and develop their own networks. Saudi Arabia has already started work on four different rail projects. It is emphasising the rail 1,000km network between the East and West, from Jeddah and Damman, which should link the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. In Oman, the authorities plan to undertake a feasibility study for laying a railway line of more than 200 kilometres.

Qatar is also developing a series of national rail projects over the coming decade. Qatari Diar Investment Real Estate Company, in collaboration with the German company Deutsche Bahn, has developed a project for the national rail system. In small Bahrain, several rail projects have also been developed amongst which we must highlight two metro lines, a tram network and a monorail. A connection between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is also expected.

The Arab Emirates is preparing a large metropolitan investment for metro and light rail system networks in several cities, amongst which we should point out the metro and trams in Dubai, the metro and light rail system in Abu Dhabi as well as other long distance rail links.