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$1bn rail line awaits signal

Manama, November 30, 2008

Bahrain's first monorail line could run from Muharraq and pass through Manama, Seef, and Isa Town before ending at Alba.

It is the first of four proposed lines and is expected to cost $1 billion (BD378 million) to build, at $50m per kilometre.

The 23km stretch of track (which is denoted by the thick black line in the accompanying map) would start at Bahrain International Airport and head west to Manama, travelling past the Bahrain Financial Harbour to Seef before turning south and passing Isa Town.

It would then continue south along the Al Estiqlal Highway before ending at Alba, stopping at 18 stations along the way.

Details of the project were revealed after a Malaysian company submitted its proposal to the Works Ministry.

Scomi Engineering Bhd had been asked by the government to draw up plans for the massive scheme.

'Now the choice has narrowed down to who can offer the best system,' said a senior Scomi official, who asked to remain anonymous.

'As things stand now, what we are proposing is a consolidated cost of $50m per kilometre.

'We expect to deliver the entire first phase for around $1bn.'

He revealed the monorail system proposed by Scomi was based on the second generation monorail cars operating in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, since 2003.

'These consist of two-end cars, coupled together to form a two or a three-car train,' he added.

The carriages are designed to have a 'revenue lifetime' of 30 years, based on eight hours of operations a day.

Three other lines have also been proposed for a later date.

The thin grey line (in the map) indicates the one that would run from Juffair to Budaiya, passing through the new Bahrain Bay development and Seef.

The thin black line would link Jurdab with Budaiya, running along the Budaiya Highway and passing through Jidhafs and Sehla.

The thick grey line from Manama to Awali would pass through Jidhafs, Isa Town and Riffa.

The GDN reported last month that construction of the first line was expected to start in the first half of 2010, while the entire project - measuring 103km in total - could be completed by 2030.

The Cabinet has already approved a plan to build the monorail network to ease traffic flow and overhaul public transportation.

Earlier this month Scomi bagged a $520m contract to set up a monorail project in Mumbai, India.

Bahrain is now in the midst of a nationwide overhaul of its roads network, which is intended to help the country cope with a growing population, new infrastructure developments and the addition of 2,000 new cars to the roads every month.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: transport | travel | railways | Local |

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