The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are expected to reach agreement by the year-end on a common set of guidelines governing the engineering design, institutional framework, and operation of the GCC Railway Network. The common guidelines, according to a World Bank official, are indispensable to the goal of creating a "regional, integrated and interoperable network that links all the GCC member states".
Dr Ramiz al Assar, Senior World Bank Resident Advisor to the GCC Secretary General, said the standardized norms for the implementation of the three key project phases covering the development of the GCC Rail Network — the Design Engineering, Operations, and Institutional Setup phases — had been completed. While the common guidelines for Design Engineering have already been adopted by the member states, those for the Operations and Institutional Setup phases, are expected to be endorsed before the end of this year, he stated.
In a presentation on GCC railway projects, and their progress and challenges, Dr Al Assar said investments for the entire regional project is expected to exceed $200 billion.
He said, "This is the most challenging project in the GCC. The engineering designs of the various national railway projects are at different stages and are expected to be completed by the end of 2013, or early 2014. Construction is expected to commence in 2014 and 2015. And the entire project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019."