Work has begun on an 111-kilometre railway project connecting Kuwait with the rest of the Arabian Gulf region, according to a report in Kuwait’s Al Anba newspaper.
According to the newspaper, the first phase of the project will create a new rail connection to Nuwaiseb on the Saudi border, as well as a 153km link between Kuwait City and Boubyan Port.
Citing senior officials, the newspaper said phase one will cost an estimated $3 billion.
Arabian Business sister publication Logistics Middle East has reported that Kuwait’s Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART) expects to appoint a technical consultant for Phase 1 in the third quarter of this year.
The estimated cost of the first phase is 900 million Dinars ($3 billion) at 2016 prices and construction is expected to take four to five years.
Freight is expected to generate more than 70 percent of revenue, although the first phase will also host passenger services from Kuwait City to Dammam in Saudi Arabia, which will operate at up to 225km/h on the Kuwaiti section.
Ultimately a 575km network is envisaged, with a link to Iraq and lines serving the ports of Shuwaikh and Shuaiba.
The 2,100km passenger and cargo network stretching through all six Gulf states from Kuwait to Oman has faced technical and bureaucratic obstacles, and stalled as state budgets tightened because of low oil prices.
Bahrain has said it would not connect its network to a neighbouring state, Saudi Arabia, until at least 2023.