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Rail Sector Boom in the Middle East – Qatar Focus

In last month’s blog I gave you an overview of the Middle East’s buoyant rail sector, including some figures for planned investment in this area which totalled over £100BN. Therefore it’s fair to say that there is good reason to be getting excited about rail sector in the Middle East.
This month, I’m going to take a look in particular into Qatar’s plans for rail related projects as Qatar alone has an estimated total of $32Bn worth of planned investment in their rail sector.

Qatar Rail Projects (£32Bn)
Of all the Gulf countries, Qatar’s plans for rail related projects are the most ambitious.  For those of you who have tried to get around Doha by car during rush hour, you will understand why.  In particular, there are 3 projects that I am going to be looking at that contribute significantly to Qatar’s investment in this sector.

The Doha Metro
The biggest of Qatar’s rail projects is the much talked about Doha Metro. The Metro is one of the single largest developments in the Gulf region currently.
The Metro system will be a largely underground network with 4 lines servicing the greater Doha area, with over ground and elevated lines towards the outskirts of the city. There is over 200km’s of track planned and 85 stations, including the main Msheireb Station which will serve as the hub for the whole Qatar Rail Network.
Contracts for many of the underground lines have now been awarded and are employing staff. The awards for the elevated sections of the various lines are due imminently. We expect to see this translate into additional job vacancies with the various consortiums involved very soon.
The lines will be opened in phases but the system is expected to be operational in some capacity by 2019 and fully completed by 2026.

Lusail Light Rail Transit
Lusail is a new city located approximately 15km North of Doha. It is planned to eventually accommodate over 250,000 residents when completely finished. It will also house one of the 2022 World Cup stadiums (Lusail Iconic Stadium).
The Lusail Light Rail Transit has already been started and the project has a value of approximately £1.2Bn. This light rail network will contain a combination of underground and over ground sections with 4 lines planned to service the various districts of the city.
The total length of the project is planned to be circa 48km with a total of 38 stations. The long term aim is for the LRT to connect with the Doha Metro and the eventually the Regional Passenger Railway which will connect Qatar with its neighbours Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The Regional Passenger Railway
This project is still in the very early stages and forms Qatar’s share of the regional rail system, that when finished, should connect all of the Gulf Region. As yet, the planned cost is unknown and there is currently a tendering process to award a civil design consult contract.
Some rough plans include, 400km rail network, 7 stations, 5 freight depots, 5 freight yards, 1 intermodal yard. The network is planned to link with Saudi Arabia in the South and I have seen plans to link with Bahrain in the North.
Projects in the region often involve a lot of red tape and politics and I suspect this one will be no different.  When numerous countries get involved things can take considerably longer to agree than they could otherwise. I’m sure this will happen in due course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s years rather than months before we see a shovel in the ground on this one. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on though.
Jobs in the Rail Sector in the Middle East
Hopefully this overview of the fast growing Qatar rail sector shows the level of commitment Qatar has to their rail sector projects for many years to come.  This makes for exciting times for rail professionals looking for their next  5 – 10 year rail project to get involved in.   It is also great news for specialist Middle East rail construction recruitment consultants like myself!

My next blog will take a closer look at the UAE’s plans for their rail sector.

To discuss suitable job opportunities in live or pending Qatar rail projects, please submit your CV via the Maxim Recruitment website.  You can also register for job alerts on the website.

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment – Middle East Region

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