UAE invites bids for GCC rail network

The design stage of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) rail network should be completed by the end of next year.

Communication ministry officials from the six-nation GCC discussed the mega-project at talks in Abu Dhabi this week before presenting proposals to their ministers.

"Some GCC members have already started the design stage. The executive phase on the ground will be launched at the start of 2013 and the project will be completed in 2017," said Abdullah Al Sbhubaili, GCC assistant undersecretary for economic affairs.

According to director of the national communications authority, Nasser Saif Al Mansouri, bids have already been invited for the implementation of the GCC rail project. "In the UAE, we have completed the studies and designs phase and invited bids for this vital project," he said.

Construction of a US$30bn rail network in 2013 could take nearly four years to be completed and will become the first project to link six nations in the Arab region.

The railway will stretch nearly 2,117km, starting from Kuwait and crossing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to Oman.

A feasibility study last year concluded that a private concession for operation and maintenance would be "financially viable".