Home World Incredible new £196bn train line that's the world's 'second biggest construction project'

Incredible new £196bn train line that's the world's 'second biggest construction project'

An incredible new train line costing almost £200billion is the second biggest construction project in the world.

The Gulf Railway in the Middle East is a proposed rail system connecting the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The 1,353-mile line will connect Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Each state is responsible for implementing the portion of the project that lies within its territory and will construct its own railway lines and branches, stations and freight terminals. Estimated to cost £196billion to build, construction is yet to start, despite being scheduled to open in 2025.

It was first proposed and approved by the GCC in 2009, with Saudi Arabia being the only member with any rail infrastructure at the time. The original deadline was 2018 which was then postponed in 2016 to 2021.

The line would begin in Kuwait City (Kuwait) and pass through Dammam and Al-Batha Port (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi and Al Ain (UAE), and Sohar before finishing in Muscat (Oman).

There will also be branches from Dammam to Bahrain and Qatar through two proposed causeways with trains travelling up to 140mph.

David Briginshaw, editor-in-chief of the International Railway Journal, stated that the low price of oil and minerals resulting in budget deficits among GCC members is the primary reason hindering the project. 

Briginshaw said: “Low oil prices affect investment, and obviously Oman’s project is designed to take minerals to the coast, so if there isn’t demand it brings the whole project into question.” 

A lack of clarity between the GCC members on the exact scale and operating model of the railway, which is still without an overseeing body, also casts doubt on the project.

The Gulf Railway is the second-largest construction project in the world. First is NEOM, over 10,000 square miles being filled with wonders including a 105-mile city in a straight line.

The ambitious £370billion project is being built in Saudi Arabia and is being promised by the country’s leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the beginning of a “journey to a greener future”.


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