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GCC moves closer to railway project implementation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A man stands watching the newly-opened Holy Sites metro light rail in the western Saudi city of Makkah on November 2, 2010. (AFP)

A man stands watching the newly-opened Holy Sites metro light rail in the western Saudi city of Makkah on November 2, 2010. (AFP)

Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat—A senior Bahraini official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that plans are underway for the construction of a second causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, parallel to the King Fahd Causeway. This causeway would serve as a railway link between the two countries, part of a larger regional Gulf railway network project.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Bahraini Transport Minister Kamal Bin Ahmad said the precise location of the railway causeway will be decided in July 2014. He added that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are set to determine which company will be responsible for administrating the feasibility studies which will decide the precise location of the causeway.

Bin Ahmad indicated that the new causeway will most probably be constructed parallel to the 1986 King Fahd Causeway.

The minister clarified that a team composed of five parties, including the Saudi Arabian Transport, and Finance ministries, their Bahraini counterparts, and the King Fahd Causeway Authority, have completed a series of private negotiations with consultants.

The company chosen to conduct feasibility studies for the rail causeway will be announced next week.

The Bahraini Transport Minister also confirmed that feasibility studies for the causeway should be completed before July 2014, adding that the two countries hope to have a complete picture of the project by the end of next year.

Bin Ahmad said he considers the Gulf railway project to be one of the most important regional cooperative projects being implemented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

According to the minister, GCC leaders have set a deadline for the end of 2018 for the end of construction of the railway causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The Minister underlined that significant progress has been made in studies regarding how the causeway will link with pre-existing railway networks in Bahrain. He added that the network will link into the Saudi railway network via Dammam.

The GCC is planning to extend freedom of movement and interconnection through the cross-border Gulf railway network. It will connect the six GCC states from Kuwait in the East all the way to Saudi Arabia in the West, while ranging south as far as Muscat.

Each state has mapped out prospective railway lines within their own territory. This railway network will connect with existing rail networks in the six GCC states forming a huge Gulf railway network.

The Gulf railway network will range approximately 1,348 miles, starting in Kuwait City then passing through Dammam, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; Bahrain; Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE); and finally reaching Sohar and Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman.