GCC moves closer to railway project implementation
Plans are under way for the construction of a second causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, parallel to the King Fahd Causeway, a senior Bahraini official told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The new causeway, he added, will serve as a railway link between the two countries, part of a larger regional Gulf railway network project.
In his exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Bahraini Transport Minister Kamal Bin Ahmad stated that the precise location of the railway causeway will be decided in July 2014.
He said Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are set to determine the company that be responsible for administrating the feasibility studies, which will decide the precise location of the causeway.
Ahmad indicated that the new causeway will most probably be constructed parallel to the 1986 King Fahd Causeway.
The minister clarified that a team composed of five parties, including the Saudi transport and finance ministries, their Bahraini counterparts, and the King Fahd Causeway Authority have completed a series of private negotiations with consultants.
The company chosen to conduct feasibility studies for the rail causeway will be announced next week.
The Bahraini transport minister also confirmed that feasibility studies for the causeway would be completed before July 2014. The two countries hope to have a complete picture of the project by the end of next year, he added.
Ahmad said he considered the Gulf railway project to be one of the most important regional cooperative projects being implemented by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
According to the minister, GCC leaders have set end of 2018 as the deadline for the completion of construction of the railway causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The minister underlined that significant progress has been made in studies regarding how the causeway will link with pre-existing railway networks in Bahrain.
He said the network would link into the Saudi railway network via Dammam.
The GCC is planning to extend freedom of movement and interconnection through the cross-border Gulf railway network.
It will connect the six GCC states from Kuwait in the East all the way to Saudi Arabia in the West, while ranging south as far as Muscat.
Each state has mapped out prospective railway lines within their own territory.
This railway network will connect with existing rail networks in the six GCC states forming a huge Gulf railway network.
The Gulf railway network will range approximately 1,348 miles, starting in Kuwait City then passing through Dammam, Doha, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, and finally reaching Sohar and Muscat in Oman.
Arab News 2013, Oct 12 2013