Bloomberg reported that Oman will appoint project and design consultants in June 2011 to help create the Arabian Gulf country’s first railway network.
Mr Salim Al Affani head of planning at the Supreme Committee for Town Planning said that the network’s construction will take four years. Freight and passenger services are scheduled to start in 2017.
Mr Al Affani said that Oman, one of six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, is trying to improve transport links with other Middle Eastern nations. Ten companies have been shortlisted for each contract that will be awarded in June 2011. He declined to name the shortlisted companies or give a value for the project, citing government policy.
In the first phase, 1,000 kilometers of track will link Muscat with the town Sohar as well as a rail network the neighboring UAE is developing. The second phase will include an additional 600 kilometers of track connecting the capital with Salalah in Oman’s south.
Mr Al Affani said that “We have visibility on phase one and from there it depends on the government’s willingness. Studies have shown that the potential is low for the second phase because of the high cost, but the government is still intending to proceed with what’s planned for now.”
Mr Salim Al Affani also the head of Abu Dhabi’s Union Railway Co said in November 2010 that the UAE railway line will link with a train system covering the six cooperation council countries in seven years.