The geographical region encompassing Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait is to receive a rail network that will be fully operational by 2024, should plans outlined by a government official come to pass. The Bahrain ministry land transportation under-secretary, Mariam Jumaan, said a technical group was in place to work on the scope of work that would connect between five and six countries in the region, known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Also in the pipeline for the area is a light transit monorail system for Bahrain that would accommodate up to 10,000 passengers, a plan that was mothballed in 2008 as a result of the global financial crisis. After being put on ice a decade ago, the tendering process for Bahrain's monorail was reopened and new bids for the 14-miles (22km), 19-ststion line were received in 2015.
As reported by Reuters, Ms Jumaan said a technical group was in place to work on the scope of GCC rail connection. “All three entities are part and parcel of this project and we are working together with our counterparts to make sure that happens.”
Concerning the monorail, Jumaan said that was currently under consultation but should it enter operation will carry between 8,000 and 10,000 passengers on a route of around 76 miles (109km) – with phase one taking up under a third of that total – a process that would be completed by around September 2018. “Once that is done we go on board with the transaction adviser and then move on to the tendering of the project. I don't think we will see the GCC rail network operational before 2023-2024,” she said.
Intended as a faster alternative to the 141 buses that commuters currently rely on in the region, Jumaan maintained that the monorail was absolutely necessary as the region had outgrown the congested road network. “It is a 109km network with phase one covering 30km and 22 stations, which is in the design stage. It is estimated to have a capacity to accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 passengers and is ideally expected to connect to Bahrain International Airport, the Diplomatic Area and the remote areas of Bahrain.”
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