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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Work stalls on GCC rail in Qatar

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Updated on March 22 to clarify that plans for an Education City stop have been cancelled.

The uncertainty surrounding the future of the planned GCC rail network has forced Qatar Rail to hit the pause button on its efforts to construct a long-distance passenger and freight line, a senior official has said.

While the GCC rail line was originally scheduled to be completed in 2018, government officials in other Gulf countries have backed away from that date and were expected to meet this month to set a new timeline.

Responding to a question from Doha News at a press conference yesterday, Qatar Rail managing director Abdulla Al Subaie said his company is effectively in a holding pattern:

“From our side, as Qatar Rail, we are ready. We need other GCC countries to start the work in order to be able to to start our contract,” he said.

Previous plans released by Qatar Rail show the first phase of the long-distance line starting at the border with Saudi Arabia and running some 71km before splitting.

The plans for Qatar's long-distance rail line, once all phases are complete in 2030.
The plans for Qatar\’s long-distance rail line, once all phases are complete in 2030.

Under that old plan, passengers would have travelled a further 23km to Education City, where they could transfer to the Doha Metro, while freight service would head toward the new port and industrial area in Mesaieed.

However, a spokesperson told Doha News that the plan for the long- distance line to run via Education City has been cancelled. She said there was no update on its new routing.

Future phases would include a rail line over a long-delayed causeway connecting Qatar with Bahrain, among other lines.

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