Could the Gulf Railway Finally Become Reality?
Could it become possible to take the train from Abu Dhabi to Doha in 2018? According to the Gulf Times, a 1,350-mile long Gulf railway system could link the countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), allowing for both passengers and freight to move between the Middle East quickly and easily.
Such a system, which for now is called the GCC rail network, is crucial if growth within the Gulf region can sustain itself. While the population is surging, the economy is diversifying and more marquee projects are emerging all over the region’s landscape, the Gulf still lags in one important area: infrastructure.
New airports, such as the Dubai World Central-Al Maktoum International Airport are hardly enough to keep the typical supply chain running and business travelers commuting. The region’s ports are at near capacity, and more roads are not the answer if the region’s leaders talk about “sustainability” will come to fruition.
Imagine the opportunities that would open if someone in the United Arab Emirates could travel to Qatar easily for an overnight, or even one-day business trip without the hassles of airport security (granted, the airports in the region are very efficient when it comes to security, and could give some tips to the bungled U.S. immigration and security agencies). Business could thrive even more cross-border, and residents in the region would learn there is more to live than driving a fuel-guzzling car. The Dubai Metro (pictured) was an excellent start. Now it is time to scale up beyond public transportation and get goods and people moving via rail.
Of course, the big question is whether this ambitious rail system will even occur in five years. Talk and proclamations are easy: execution is the hard part. But if this region can come together and build a world-class train system, the Middle East could well be on its way to become a leading business hub.
[Image credit: Leon Kaye]