A keenly-awaited award for the Preliminary Design Consultancy services contract was announced by the Tender Boardhere yesterday, effectively signalling the formal commencement of work on the multibillion rial Oman National Railway Project. Although the Tender Board announcement — in line with longstanding practice — did not name the successful bidder, the contract award value of RO 13.582 million closely matched the financial bid submitted by the consortium led by Italferr, the international consulting arm of Ferrovie dello Stato, the Italian state railway. Also in the race for the contract were two other consortiums: one headed by DB International GmbH, the international transport solutions division of the German rail giant Deutsche Bahn; and the other by Oman’s National Engineering Office (NEO), representing a prominent Korean rail firm.
The Preliminary Design consultant is responsible for the provisional design of the complete infrastructure and systems covering all segments of the 1,061-km railway project, thereby securing the basis of a completed, fully functional, operating railway and inter-operable with the GCC network.Also as part of its brief, the consultant will undertake the preliminary design of, among other things: the alignment, track works and infrastructure; civil works, tunnels and structures; systems, and; functional design/ specifications of rolling stock. As reported by the Observer earlier this week, the National Railway Project will be developed as part of an integrated end-to-end network traversing the length of the country with linkages to all of the major maritime hubs. Transport & Communications Minister Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi described the project as “one big, ambitious and complete” network extending from Buraimi and Sohar through to Duqm and Salalah. “We are determined to link our three major ports in the county — Sohar, Duqm and Salalah — with other GCC countries through this important project,” he noted. Bids for the equally important Project Management Consultancy contract are also due to be opened later this month.