By Bonnie James www.gulf-times.com
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
This was announced yesterday at a presentation by Qatar Railways Company senior corporate development co-ordinator Sheikha Loulwa al-Thani at the Rail Hall of Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC) in Lusail.
“The Qatar railway project will consist of the Doha Metro system, the long-distance high speed rail link, and the freight line,” she explained.
Gulf Times had reported earlier that the total budget for rail development in Qatar is estimated at about QR130bn and key sections of the project would be completed by 2020, two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
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 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,” the official stated.
The West Bay Central is an underground station of three levels. It will be 300m wide and 40m deep, with retail stores, food court, and banking services among others.
“The semi transparent roof will let in natural sunlight during the day and at night passengers can see the lights of the neighbouring towers,” Sheikha Loulwa said.
A big screen digital simulation of the interior of the West Bay Central Station, installed in the Rail Hall, gives a futuristic rendition of the facility.
There will be an integrated control centre for the Qatar Railway network. The number of passengers and their arrival and departure destinations can be monitored from the centre.
A separate presentation, prepared by QRDC, revealed that if a million people are living today in the metropolitan area of Doha, this figure is expected to touch 3mn in another decade.
Doha’s West Bay will host 100,000 people in five years. The travel time by train from West Bay Station to NDIA will be 22 minutes, 15 minutes to Lusail, and eight minutes to downtown Doha.
The metro and long distance rail network are expected to reduce traffic congestion currently experienced in and around Doha.
There will be a total of 80 stations for the metro. The metro and the long distance lines together will have 651kms track and 98 stations. These will be integrated with Light Rapid System and people mover systems.
The 340km freight line will connect the industrial areas in Qatar such as Ras Laffan, Dukhan and Mesaieed as well as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. There will be three main terminals. A total of 14 trains and 2,500 wagons are to run daily. QRDC expects to start construction in 2012, it was reported earlier.