What’s On has details of an expansion for trains in Dubai, with a new GCC line, which will run through UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Dubai’s public transport system received a massive shot in the arm when plans were confirmed for a major rail network connecting six states across the Gulf.

Due for completion in 2018, the Dhs57 billion Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Rail line will run from Oman to Kuwait, passing through the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Each of the GCC states will construct their own section before the network is linked.

The total length of the track will be approx. 2,117 km. Passenger trains will run at approx. 220kph; freight trains between 80 and 120kph.

Nadhem Bin Taher, acting director general of the UAE’s National Transport Authority (NTA), said: “The GCC region is characterised by a sustained increase of GDP which requires moving larger volumes of freight and more passengers. A higher rhythm of economics and social development must be sustained by the permanent improvement of our transport infrastructure and services”.

For decades, oil wealth and resources have been the region’s main source of income. GCC Rail marks new investment in trade between neighbouring states.

“Having a regional network will also connect the major ports in the region,” Bin Taher added. “Railways are expected to play a vital role in solving the transport needs of the society as a part of integrated transport system including shipping and aviation.”

The project bodes well for job creation in the GCC. Jonathan Barnes, partner of capital projects and infrastructure at PwC, said:

“Firstly there are the jobs directly connected with the construction and operation of the rail network. This is likely to encompass a wide supply chain involving many companies and service providers.

“Secondly there are the jobs which are created by new industry being enabled by the railway providing better connectivity and opportunities to transports goods and products. As the passenger service comes online, the labour market of the GCC will be less geographically restricted increasing options for the local population to seek work.”