The lead contractor of Lusail’s under-construction light-rail transit (LRT) system has said that the first line will begin operating in 2018.
QDVC – a joint venture between the Qatari Diar and French infrastructure firm Vinci – said the “yellow” line would be the first to enter service, followed by the remaining three routes in 2020.
The 37-station light-rail system is a key feature of the planned city of Lusail, which is envisioned to be home to some 200,000 residents and be a model of sustainable development.
It’s a separate project from the Doha Metro, which is also currently under construction, but passengers will be able to transfer between the two transit systems at a station near the Pearl-Qatar.
While Qatar Rail has previously published a high-level system map, no details have been released showing the specific routes of each line.
Last November, a Qatar Rail official told Doha News that the first phase of the LRT project, consisting of three stations connecting the line to the under-construction Doha Metro Red Line North at Lusail Marina / The Pearl, would enter service in 2016.
However, several weeks later, Qatar Rail said at a press conference that it was expecting to take delivery of the light-rail system in 2017, which would typically be followed by several months of testing before opening to passengers.
It’s not clear if the three-station section will still open in 2016 as previously stated, or is part of the section that will open in 2018.
Some 35 trains have been ordered to ply the 30.5km of track. Earlier this week, French power and rail firm Alstom announced it had won a contract to supply its 32-meter Citadis trains to Qatar Rail for €750 million (US$1.02 billion).
The deal, which was inked in Paris this week during a visit to France by Qatar’s Emir, is part of a larger €2 billion ($2.72 billion) contract awarded to Alstom and QDVC that also includes the construction of 25 stations and a rail depot.
QDVC was previously tasked with civil engineering works and, separately, a €374 million contract to build eight underground stations, a viaduct as well as preliminary work on an LRT depot and maintenance workshop.
Awarded in August 2011, that project was scheduled to take 38 months to complete.