Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers approved the implementation of a $25 billion Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway project, which aims to link the six GCC countries through a 2,117-km railway network.
“The Cabinet approved a request from the Transport Ministry to prepare engineering blueprints for the railway and follow up implementation of the project,” Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said.
Work on the railway would start in 2012 after the completion of engineering studies and should be completed in 2017. Train services across the six GCC states will facilitate movement and travel of GCC citizens as well as expatriates and boost regional trade. Beginning from Kuwait, the railway will pass by the eastern Saudi city of Dammam where it will connect with Bahrain through a bridge parallel to King Fahd Causeway before reaching Qatar via Salwa while another line will connect Saudi Arabia with the UAE through Bathaa.
The railway will run through Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain to reach Oman through Sahar and Muscat, and will also connect Qatar and Bahrain through a bridge. Land acquisition expenditures for the project is estimated at $3.1 billion while the cost of purchasing trains and locomotives at $1.8 billion.