Imagine if goods and services, and of course people, could move freely from Kuwait to Muscat without the need for long truck hauls and expensive air travel. That would very well happen in less than five years if all goes to plan. The much-promoted GCC rail project, which would see 2,117 kilometers of track plunked across the Arabian Peninsula, is now supposedly on for a total cost of $15.4 billion.

Freight rails will first be installed, then commuter lines allowing trains to travel as fast as 220 kilometers per hour will allow for travel between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates hubs of Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and finally in Muscat, Oman. A spur would also connect Bahrain and Qatar to the greater network.

With the region’s population still surging and the largest cities becoming more important business hubs, nations within the Gulf Cooperation Council really have no choice but to rely on rail if they insist on a commitment to sustainable development. Building more roads, wider roads, and bigger and more boastful airports will not solve the problems of congestion and pollution in the Middle East—rather in the long run they will only aggravate the environment and social problems. The GCC railway project is a strong step in keeping the region competitive in the global marketplace.

Via The Peninsula

Image credit: Etihad Rail

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.