QATAR’S rail network is a step closer with Qatar Railways Company (QRC) having issued tenders for the Doha Metro’s enabling works.

“Companies will be expected to submit their proposals in a month,” Gulf Times quoted a senior QRC official as saying.
The metro forms part of a $40-billion railway network­­­ that Qatar plans to build.

Meanwhile, four tunnelling RFP (request for proposal) contracts, each worth $2 billion to $3 billion, will be issued in the first week of April and work awarded in October, deputy chief executive officer Geoff Mee told the Qatar Projects 2012 conference, which was held in Doha last month.

The initial packages include one each for the Msheireb and Education City stations, the former expected to be the busiest station of the metro network.

“The project has been accelerated by 18 months on account of Qatar’s bid for the 2020 Olympics,” he explained while observing that the Phase 1A of the metro needs to be finished in 2019.

Phase 1A, which comprises the four tunnelling packages and the Msheireb and Education City stations, will extend from the New Doha International Airport to the race circuit (Lusail).

“Phase 1B (second phase) will see the metro stretching to Al Wakrah and Al Khor and expanding the initial network to all the stadiums for the 2022 Fifa World Cup,” Mee said.

The first phase involves 52 km of single-bore tunnelling whereas the second phase has only a few more kilometres of tunnelling with the rest of the work being at elevated grade, outside the city.

“As soon as the contracts are awarded, we intend to order the tunnel-boring machines,” he said.

Thirty pre-qualified tunnelling contractors are expected to make their presentations, and the most competent shortlisted.
Given the compressed timescale, there will be restrictions on the number of contracts each consortium can bid for.

“It is vital for each international company to have a competent local partner who knows the ground reality,” he added.
Considering that the construction period spans eight years, QRC is working with Ashghal (Public Works Authority) and other government agencies on how to control cost escalation.

“There is no doubt about the viability of the mass rapid transport system in the Middle East. The success of the Dubai Metro is a good example. We are going to do it even better,” Mee said.

The QRC official also confirmed that the proposed West Bay people mover system was being re-evaluated. A consultancy for the feasibility study will be awarded shortly.

It was reported in October last year that a $3-billion underground rail line planned for West Bay had been delayed.
The delay was due to the complexities involved in the building of a 11-km underground rail line that will pass through the heart of Doha’s new financial district, home to a large number of high-rises.