x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Rail project to offer more contracts

Union Railway is preparing to tender the next round of contracts for its 1,500km, Dh40 billion (US$10.89bn) national rail project, its chief executive says.

Union Railway is preparing to tender the next round of contracts for its 1,500km, Dh40 billion (US$10.89bn) national rail project, its chief executive says. The state-backed company will invite bids for engineering work and project management. Previously tendered work packages involved topographical and geotechnical surveys and environmental impact assessments. Much of the existing work has focused on the project's first phase, a 265km line linking the Shah natural gas field in the desert south-west of Abu Dhabi city with oil and gas treatment facilities at Habshan and with the port at Ruwais.

"Tenders are now being prepared for preliminary engineering for the rest of the network and for project management," said Richard Bowker, the rail company's chief executive, at today's opening of the MENA Rail Projects conference hosted by MEED. "We hope to announce those in the relatively near future." More than 350 companies have communicated their interest in the project, Mr Bowker said. Other work scheduled to begin soon includes a pilot study in Al Gharbia region into the effects of sand blown on to rail lines.

"We are no longer talking about a concept of building Union Railway in the UAE, we are actually getting on with it," Mr Bowker said.

igale@thenational.ae