By Bonnie James www.gulf-times.com
About 19 construction packages of $1bn (QR3.65bn) each are to be awarded until the end of next year for the Qatar railway project, including the metro and GCC network, Gulf Times has learnt.
“The first package will be issued by the end of this year,” Qatar Railways Company (QRC) group director – projects and technical, Ghanim Hussein Ali al-Ibrahim, said yesterday.
The tender for the first package will be issued within the next one or two months, followed by the other packages, he explained.
Gulf Times had reported earlier that the total budget for rail development in Qatar was estimated at about QR130bn and key sections of the project would be completed by 2020, two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
QRC deputy chairman and Qatar Railways Development Corporation chairman Sheikh Saoud bin Nasser bin Jassim al-Thani said rail lines would be built at three levels, underground, elevated and ground level.
Once the tenders are announced, contractors have to be given five to six months time to bid, because the size of each package is $1bn, al-Ibrahim pointed out.
Four to six months are required to evaluate and award the contracts. QRC is now studying the tenders.
“The final package has to be awarded by the end of 2012, as we need to give eight years for design and construction and then one year for commissioning and testing ahead of starting commercial operation before the FIFA World Cup 2022,” the official said.
Al-Ibrahim clarified that the project would be executed in two phases. Phase one is only what is necessary for FIFA World Cup 2022, to connect the nine stadiums through metro.
“All the (rail) packages necessary for 2022 will be awarded by the end of 2012,” he added.
The Qatar railway project will consist of the Doha Metro system, the long-distance high speed rail link and the freight line.
The total completion of the rail network is slated for 2026. The project is being managed by QRDC, a 51:49 joint venture of state-owned property development group Qatari Diar and Deutsche Bahn International.
The proposed integrated railway system for Qatar will have four main stations, such as New Doha International Airport (NDIA), Education City, Doha Main Station and West Bay Central Station.
The metro lines connecting the inner and outer areas of Doha and integrated with NDIA, Lusail City, and The Pearl-Qatar and long-distance high-speed links connecting north and west of the country and with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will touch each of the main stations.