Cheap fuel combined with an intensive period of road building means that in Qatar cars are by a significant distance the most popular mode of transport. These developments alongside the country's increasing population saw in 2013 plans confirmed to build a metro in the capital city, Doha. This project is part of the government’s $130 billion investment strategy for public services. Three years into its development, the next stage of Qatar’s Doha Metro is now underway. The metro is 50% complete and expected to reach costs of $36 billion. 21 tunnel boring machines successfully etched out the 53.25km tunnel network and now work has started in the final fit out phase. So what's been done and what is next?
In September the tunneling phase was completed and now Qatar Rail has started work on many of the underground stations on the metro. The tunneling process deserves a mention, making the Guinness World Record Book for ‘The Largest Number of Tunnel Boring Machines Operating Simultaneously in a Single Project’ - being the largest metro project to date.
The rail network plans to increase passenger ridership, reduce CO2 emissions and become one of the most technologically advanced metro services in the world. QNA reported that Qatar Rail’s chairman, Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Turki Al Subaie said that the company “will continue its march with known dedication and firm commitment to achieve the vision of providing an integrated world-class railway services."
This project will serve the capital and the suburbs as well as linking Qatar to the GCC and Lusrail’s city local light rail transit (LRT). Ministry of Transport and Communications’ Road Transport Planning Department director Rashid Taleb al-Nabet said both communications and transport were among the sectors that contributed significantly to the development of the national economy. It will span over an impressive 300km with 98 stations.
At the moment, the existing public transport services are provided by Mowasalat, a state-owned integrated ground transportation company. However the vast nework of Doha Metro means that phase one will include the Red, Green and Gold lines which are to be completed by 2020. This will comprise of 3 lines and 37 stations, then phase two will add an additional Blue line with 4 more stations to be completed by 2026. The metro will be one of the most modern railway networks in the world.
Ministry of Transport and Communications’ Road Transport Planning Department director Rashid Taleb al-Nabet stated at a recent conference and reported in the Gulf Times that; “The ongoing developments in the transport and communications sector, supported by cutting edge technologies are therefore everyone to see. The developments in rail, roads, ports and airport have begun to unfold and each of them is built ensuring international safety standards.”
There have been a whole host of global companies that have been granted contracts for the train’s development. To name just a few: Jacobs Engineering; Louis Berger; Egis Rail; the safety assessment contract was awarded to Lloyd's Register; South Korea's S K Engineering & Construction and Qatar's Galfar Engineering & Contracting was awarded a design contract; QDVC; Samsung C&T; Obrascon Huarte Lain (OHL) and Qatar Building Company are all involved.
Plans going forward will see 75 three-car driverless trainsets for the metro system to be provided by Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation and Kink Sharyo. French based Thales will supply the train control signaling, telecommunication, a security system, an operations control center and an automatic fare collection system. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will supply the track and power supply.
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