$15 Billion GCC Rail Project Could Finally Launch Sustainable Transport in the Gulf
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