The tiny Gulf state of Bahrain plans to invest $10bn on a railway line connecting to the proposed Gulf-wide rail network and a second causeway to Saudi Arabia, a local newspaper has reported.
A feasibility study being conducted by Canadian engineering consultancy SNC-Lavalin on the construction of the new King Hamad Causeway, which will accommodate the new rail link, is nearing completion.
Two routes have been proposed for the rail link that will connect two stations on either side of the water, and Bahrain’s station would be built on reclaimed land north of the existing King Fahad Causeway, reports Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News.
The new landing point will have an international multi-modal freight yard, and will be integrated with a new bus and light rail network, said transport ministry under-secretary, Maryam Jam’an.
Based on preliminary studies, the rail link will comprise 28km of approach tracks, a 26km causeway and a 10km bridge.Â
Trains will travel at up to 120kmph and the feasibility study estimates that it could carry up to 143,000 containers in the first year of operation, rising to 343,000 in 2030 and 602,000 by 2050.Â
"We have identified the things that Bahrain needs to do and how we need to do them to make the project happen," said Ms Jam’an.
Bids will be launched for the design stage of the project, which is scheduled for completion by 2022, after the feasibility study is concluded, the newspaper reported.
The next stage of bids for the rail link will be submitted in June with the tender award expected in November.Â
Construction is expected to take five to six years, added Ms Jam’an.
Photograph: A satellite image of the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia, on the left, and Bahrain (Wikimedia Commons)