ABU DHABI, (Reuters) – The Union Railway company has awarded engineering and consultancy deals for its $11 billion rail project to link the United Arab Emirates and plans to tender the first construction contracts in early 2011, its CEO said on Sunday.
A joint venture of U.S. firm Parsons and France’s Systra has been awarded a project management consultancy contract for the network while Parsons Brinckerhoff, a unit of UK’s Balfour Beatty, was awarded a preliminary engineering contract for phases one and two of the project, Richard Bowker said .
He declined to give the value for the contracts.
“In early 2011, we will tender for construction contracts for phase zero to build the railway line,” he told reporters.
The UAE railway will comprise three phases. The zero phase will build a railway in Abu Dhabi for which the preliminary engineering was done by UK’s WS Atkins.
Union Railway is examining various financing options and has appointed UBS as financial adviser, he said.
The next phase is a railway line between Abu Dhabi and Dubai while the final phase will link the northern emirates. The project is expected to be completed by 2017.
The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are setting up a regional authority to oversee the linking and operations of a region-wide railway network, Bowker said.
Each of the Gulf states is in various stages of developing their railway which are to be linked by 2017, he said.
The UAE is a federation of seven members with Abu Dhabi as the capital. Dubai, the second-largest member, has had a metro rail system since September 2009.