Qatar and Deutsche Bahn ‘in $25bn deal’
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is set to sign a $25bn contract with Qatar tomorrow
Qatar is set to award a $25bn contract to German rail and logistics group Deutsche Bahn tomorrow to build and operate a passenger and freight rail network in the country.
A source said the deal would see the launch of the Qatar Railway Development Company, a joint corporation in which Qatar Railways is expected to hold 51% and Deutsche Bahn 49%.
German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer yesterday said in Berlin that he would travel to Doha together with Deutsche Bahn chief executive Ruediger Grube to sign the deal.
Earlier, he told a meeting of transport ministers in Heidelberg that the deal included building a rail connection to the New Doha International Airport (NDIA), which is being built to the east of existing one.
German newspaper Handelsblatt also reported in its online edition yesterday that Deutsche Bahn had won a 17bn euro contract to build the proposed rail network in Qatar.
Handelsblatt, citing government sources, said German industrial group Siemens could be involved in supplying trains and the German building industry in the construction of the rail network.
The project would involve the construction of a rail network in Doha as well as a high-speed connection to the airport and a link to Bahrain through the causeway, construction work on which is expected to start early next year.
Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Deutsche Bahn in August last year to prepare the ground work for developing “a comprehensive and consolidated” national railway system.
The ambitious project consists of an east coast rail link, a passenger and freight line linking Ras Laffan and Mesaieed via Doha, a high-speed link between the NDIA, Doha city centre and Bahrain through the causeway, a freight rail link based on GCC rail and Doha Expressway studies, a Doha Metro network based on the Qatar Transport Master Plan and light rail/people mover networks linking Lusail, Education City and the West Bay.
The Qatar railway will form part of the GCC network, which is expected to be ultimately connected to Turkey, providing a rail link between the Middle East and Europe. All the GCC countries are currently carrying out feasibility studies on the proposed rail network linking the member states.
In Qatar, work is expected to begin first on the Doha Metro Network, which will be developed as one cluster. Qatar’s Urban Planning and Development Authority is overseeing the work.
According to a source, the kind of metro Qatar is looking at is “mostly underground which takes time to build”.
The first section runs 30km from the under-construction Lusail mega-project to the New Doha International Airport. Four further sections, originally set to break ground between 2010 and 2012, run a total of 55km.
The New Doha International Airport Steering Committee has invited companies to pre-qualify for a contract to build a train station at the airport.
UK-based Mace International is the project manager for the scheme, known as the Passenger Rail Station Box. The project involves building a railway station terminal for an express airport rail line that will connect to rail and metro stations in downtown Doha and other rail networks.