Railway along King Fahd Causeway under study

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are studying the possibility of building a railway line parallel to King Fahd Causeway to ease the flow of goods between the two countries. This is part of a larger 2,177 km Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway project that will connect Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Bahraini Transport Minister Kamal Ahmad said studies are under way to determine the project’s feasibility. “The Saudi and Bahraini governments have charged five organizations to study the possibility of building a bridge that will hold railway tracks parallel to King Fahd Causeway,” said Ahmad.
The five organizations are the two countries’ ministries of finance and transportation and the King Fahd Causeway Authority. Ahmad said the project would link up with an internal network of railways and ports in the two countries. “This will include two lanes, one for the railway tracks and the other for cars.” On cargo blockages between the two countries, he said: “Our country is pursuing, with the cooperation of Saudi Arabia, to develop regulations to transport goods via King Fahd Causeway to minimize the amassing of trucks, and to make available enough space for the storage of goods.”
The causeway, added the minister, allowed businessmen of the two countries to transport goods at reduced costs. He said sea transport was more expensive. Khalifa bin Salman Port, which is under the management of global terminal operator APM Terminals, is capable of accommodating all shipment orders if Saudi businesspeople decide to prefer the sea route. The proposed GCC railway project will be 2,177 km starting from Kuwait City, through Dammam then off to Bahrain via the bridge to be built parallel to the causeway. A future project will link Bahrain with Qatar via another causeway.
The project will include a land track that will launch from Dammam to Qatar via Salwa outlet, then to the United Arab Emirates via Albatha outlet, toward Abu Dhabi and Al-Ain, extending out to Oman and Muscat, said the minister. The initial cost of the project is an estimated $ 10 billion. The costs will vary depending on whether railway lines are built on land or over the sea. Ahmad said Bahrain approved the technical specifications of the connections. “Technical meetings are ongoing to work out the legal issues of the project, and operations and management according to the highest global standards,” he said.
He said the train would travel at a top speed of 200 km/hr. The deadline for the completion of the project is 2018, as decided by GCC leaders, “which compels us to make haste with construction to meet this deadline.” He said the project would enhance economic integration of the GCC.