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Middle East market report | Transport

The stark reality of plummeting oil process may have slowed some transport projects across the Middle East, but it has definitely not led to widespread cancellations. 

Transport infrastructure clearly remains at the top of the political agenda, according to Atkins managing director for rail in the Middle East Julian Hill. 

“You might see phasing of some projects and slight delays,” he says. “But the major projects will happen.” 

Atkins provided full design and management of the civil works on the initial Dubai Metro scheme and Hill insists that the city has taken a pioneering approach to the delivery of major transport projects. 

Middle East Rail

Middle East Rail

Long Distance Passenger and Freight Rail Line will connect to GCC’s high speed network

“There were some initial thoughts that the Dubai Metro was doomed, but now 580,000 people use it every day. People are adapting their lives to live on the Dubai Metro route,” he says. 

“Dubai has really led the way. Everyone can now see the benefits of these transport projects.”

The Dubai Metro extension project will connect the existing Red Line to the site where international exhibition Expo 2020 will be held. The project is expected to be the largest infrastructure scheme that will be built for the Expo. The scheme, known as Route 2020, involves a 15km line branching off the Red Line at the Nakheel Harbour and Tower station, between the Ibn Battuta Mall and Jumeirah Lake Towers stations. The line will also connect to Al-Maktoum International airport. Approximately 11km of the line will be elevated, with five elevated stations and two underground stations.

Other projects in the region

Outside Dubai, other major transport projects are also underway. In Saudi Arabia, the Riyadh Metro project includes six lines totalling 176km and 85 metro stations. When complete, the network will be the country’s first underground rail system and one of the largest in the world. The metro stations will be integrated with the 85km, three line Riyadh Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) network. 

Qatar Rail is currently one of the largest rail projects in the world, incorporating the Doha Metro, Lusail Light Rail Transit (LLRT) and Long Distance Passenger and Freight Rail. 

Doha Metro is mostly underground rail network and will be built in two phases: the first will see the construction of three out of the four lines (Red, Gold, and Green) and 37 stations. The second phase will be completed by 2026, and will involve the expansion of the phase one lines, and the construction of an additional one – the Blue Line. Another 72 stations will also be built. 

Also in Qatar the LLRT project is a tram network providing travel within the new city of Lusail. When built, it will have four lines, 38.5km in length with 25 stations. 

In addition, the Long Distance Passenger and Freight Rail will connect cities in the north and west with Doha, and the country with the forthcoming GCC rail system. 

Phase 1 includes nearly 143km of operational railway track with 34 turnouts (main tracks), one station, three freight yards, one intermodal yard, 59 bridges and 36 culverts.

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