The Sultanate's ambitious national railway project is estimated to have a capital expenditure of $5.305 billion for the 1,061 kilometers in the first phase of the project. This is based on a rough estimate during the feasibility study and there could be a possibility of a difference between 20 per cent and 30 per cent in the actual cost at the time of implementation.
The GCC railway network is estimated to have a capital expenditure of $11.2 billion, Eng. Salim bin Said Al Amri, Assistant Director General of Roads for Maintenance and Land Transport (Head of Railway Team) at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, told journalists, on the sidelines of Oman Transport Infrastructure Summit yesterday.
He also said that the government has decided to appoint a consultant for preliminary design of the railway route, for which a tender will be floated within two to three months. In other words, a tender for selecting a route design consultant (which was floated last year), has been cancelled now. However, the process for selecting a project management consultant (for which companies have been shortlisted) will continue.
Eng. Al Amri also revealed that the tender for preliminary design consultant could be either for route design alone or for designing and construction, which is followed by some countries. "We will see it during the evaluation process.-?
The preliminary design will include review of previous study reports, infrastructure design, systems design, rolling stock performance specifications and preparation of tender documents for design and build contractors for infrastructure and systems.
Referring to the distance between different sectors, Eng. Al Amri said a 242 kilometer line will connect Sohar port with Al Misafah, 486 kilometers track to link Al Misafah and Duqm, 136 kilometers to connect Sohar and Al Ain and 58 kilometers line to link Sohar with Khatmat Milaha. So, the total length of the national railway line in the first phase will be 1,061 kilometers.
Major passenger stations are planned in Sohar, Barka and Muscat, Izki, Sinaw, Duqm, Buraimi, Sunaynah and Khatmat Milahah, while large freight yards are proposed in Barka, Al Misafah, Sohar, Duqm and Sunaynah.
Elaborating on the key parameters of the railway line in his presentation, he said Oman's railway will have double line, preferably electric traction power, with a speed of 200 kilometers per hour (kph) for passenger train and 80-120 kph for goods train and there will not be any level crossings. However, he said, since other GCC countries are planning diesel traction power, compatibility will be an issue.
Times of Oman