Qatar Railway Plan on the right track

Better late than never. Finally it comes to Qatar, Qatar Railway System. I can imagine: park my car in the nearest station, take the train to Ras Laffan in few minutes, and take shuttle bus to QG site. With glacial time in Qatar, I am not sure if this will be available for use soon 🙂

Update 21 September 2011

Qatar Railways Co, or QRail, the operator of the Gulf State’s planned QR130bn ($36bn) rail network, will award the first construction contract on the project in July next year (Source: Gulf Times)

Update 7 June 2011

Now they say construction start in 2012 (Gulf Times) and 2013 (The Peninsula) 🙂

(Source: Gulf Times, 7 June 2011, “Rail system plan gathers steam”)

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.

A digital simulation of West Bay Central Station

(Source: Gulf Times, 7 June 2011, “Travel times for long-distance commuters“)

Students from Bahrain can reach Qatar Foundation’s Education City in just 51 minutes when the proposed long-distance rail network becomes a reality.

“This would allow students from Bahrain to commute to Education City daily,” it was mentioned in a presentation given by Qatar Railways Development Company yesterday.

The long-distance rail network is a component of the Qatar railway project which also includes the Doha Metro system, and the freight line.

The total completion of the QR130bn railway project is slated for 2026, but key sections of the project would be completed by 2020, two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The travel time from the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) to Bahrain is 1:21 hours in the long-distance rail network. This is expected to attract many Qatar-Bahrain-Qatar air travellers to rail travel.

When the Qatar Railways is linked to the proposed GCC rail network, the travel time from NDIA to Dammam in Saudi Arabia will be 1:45 hours, 3:06 hours to Abu Dhabi, 3:28 hours to Dubai, 4:57 hours to Fujairah, and 6:19 hours to Muscat.

Within Doha, travel time from NDIA will be 10 minutes to the Doha Main Station, 17 minutes to West Bay Central Station, 28 minutes to Education City, 48 minutes to Al Khor, 1:02 hours to Ras Laffan, and 1:08 hours to Dukhan

Update 30 Mar 2011 (Source: The Peninsula, “Railway construction to begin in May”)

Construction for the state-of-the-art integrated railway network project of Qatar will start in May, an official of Qatar Railways Company
(QRC) has said.

Eng. Geoff Mee, QRC Chief Business Development Director, yesterday told members of Qatar Society of Engineers that an industry awareness event will be held in May to launch the ambitious project which has a projected budget of QR130bn.

“Representatives of world’s railways’ best consultancy, advisory, construction and operations companies will attend presentations to explain the scale of the projects, timelines and procurement strategies to deliver the project,” said Eng Mee addressing over a hundred in attendance at a seminar titled ‘Turning an Integrated Transport Vision for Qatar into Reality’.

The recently formed Qatar Railways Development Company, a 51/49 joint venture between Qatari Diar, represented by QRC and DB International, will be the sole entity responsible for developing and integrating Qatar’s visionary railway network, encompassing a range of transport modes such as metro systems, long distance passenger travel, and freight transport.

QRDC will also connect Qatar’s network to neighbouring countries via the Bahrain-Qatar causeway, to create the region’s first fully integrated railway system. Initial studies of the ambitious project and the preliminary design for the integrated railway network have already been completed.

Procurement process for the project will start in June and construction will kick off in 2012. “The entire project will be completed by 2026 but the network needed for the World Cup 2022 will be finished by 2020,” said Eng Mee.

He underscored the importance of raising awareness among the public of the benefits of the integrated railway network which will see the emergence of a new industry. “An integrated railway is vital as Qatar transforms into a world-class economy by 2030 sustaining its own development and providing high standard of living for all. It is also needed as it seeks comprehensive urban development plan that adopts sustainable policy.”

Sep 2009

Qatar is preparing to tender construction work on one of the five rail networks it plans to build over the next 10 years, MEED has reported. The New Doha International Airport Steering Committee has invited companies to pre-qualify for a contract to build a train station at the $11bn airport that is under construction close to Doha’s existing one.

UK-based Mace International is the project manager for the scheme, known as the Passenger Rail Station Box. The project involves building a railway station terminal for an express airport rail line that will connect to rail and metro stations in downtown Doha and other rail networks. Sources familiar with the project say the steering committee wants to finish the station in time for the opening of the first Phase of the airport in 2011. Consultants expect the Trade and Business Ministry to invite them to submit proposals for a national railway system in 2010.

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, in partnership with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, has already developed a conceptual design for a national railway system in Qatar. The companies’ multi-billion dollar conceptual design has five components. It includes an east coast rail link between Ras Laffan and Mesaieed, a high-speed link from Doha to Bahrain across the planned causeway, a freight link connecting into the planned GCC rail network, a Doha metro network and a light rail network serving residential developments. It was in August last year that Qatar took a major step aimed at developing a comprehensive and consolidated national railway system with Diar and Deutsche Bahn signing a memorandum of understanding to prepare the ground work for the project which consists of the following:

1) The east coast rail link, a passenger and freight railway linking Ras Laffan and Mesaieed via Doha.

2) The high speed link between the New Doha International Airport, Doha City Centre and Bahrain via the planned causeway.

3) The freight rail link based on the GCC rail and Doha Expressway studies.

4) The Doha Metro network based on the Qatar Transport Master Plan and

5) The light rail/people mover network linking Lusail, Education City and the West Bay.

Source: Gulf Times, 3 September 2009

Unofficial picture showing network of Doha Metro
Unofficial picture showing network of Doha Metro