Speech of Eng. Abdulla Abdulaziz Al Subaie, Qatar Rail’s Managing Director at UIC Conference
On behalf of Qatar Railways Company, we welcome today all distinguished guests visiting us in Doha, and we hope our exceptional gathering will add value to the railway industry in our region.
Qatar Rail would like to extend its sincere appreciation for the attendance of all esteemed parties involved in the railway sector, as well as for the efforts made by all organisers to make this conference happen, as we look forward to exchange valuable expertise and help in providing the required infrastructure that enables rail absorb increasing human and freight volumes, efficiently and economically.
We are honored to be hosting UIC RAME’s 1st International Conference on “Railway Interoperability, Standardisation and Harmonisation" with OTIF and CIT. In line with the strategic vision and action plan for the development of railways in the Middle East, the UIC Regional Assembly for the Middle East is providing us with a unique opportunity to discuss the latest developments in optimising international cross-border rail transport, and address all determining interoperability issues in the technical, operational, legal and regulatory fields.
In commitment to this roadmap, as well as to Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and its four pillars of economic, social, human and environmental development, Qatar Rail adheres to Qatar’s national transportation objectives and requirements enunciated in the Qatar National Development Framework (QNDF). In addition to the Doha Metro and the Lusail City Light Rail Transit, our company envisages the development of a Long Distance Rail that will form part of the planned GCC cross-border railway network linking the six countries in GCC (namely, State of Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kingdom of Bahrain and Sultanate of Oman).
Economic & Social Development
Until recently in the GCC region, economic development has been mainly facilitated due to infrastructure investments in ports, since most of the region’s growth was due to exporting oil and petrochemicals to European and Asian markets. Today, with the continuous increase of local populations and economies, there’s a rising need for an advanced regional and local infrastructure to support economic and social advancement. With all the GCC states investing heavily in the transportation sector, the region is witnessing a road and rail boom. Building a state-of-the-art rail network across the GCC will enable a higher level of cooperation between the member states, in line with the region’s vision. It will also result in wider access across regional markets for both local and international businesses. In the future, the GCC rail network is very likely to play a crucial role in the sustainable development of each country’s economy and the region as a whole.
One of the challenges we are faced with in achieving harmonised cross-border transportation in the GCC region, for both passengers and freight, is coordinating the region-wide link-up. Each member state has to make sure that its own domestic rail development plans fits within the needs of the GCC-wide network. Standardisation of technical aspects and procedures is a crucial part of the vision. There are also a number of engineering challenges that must be set, including extreme temperature increases in summer and climate changes at night, while Rail lines will have to be able to endure these considerable climatic fluctuations. The Gulf’s rail boom is well underway and we are very optimistic about the GCC Rail link-up, while we are counting on qualified human resources to work on the GCC Rail initiative, convenient customs and border checks between GCC member states, and efficient transit across borders.
Qatar Rail’s role
To facilitate growth among the member states and in line with the GCC region’s vision, the Qatar Rail Development Program (QRDP) is currently developing a long distance passenger and freight rail network to connect major centres of population and industries in Qatar, and to play its part in linking the six GCC countries. Qatar’s Long Distance Passenger and Freight Rail transportation system will be developed in four distinct phases. It will cover a distance of 350 kilometres at a speed of 220 to 350 kilometres per hour for passenger trains, and nearing 120 kilometres per hour for freight trains.
Phase one, which begins this year, includes the construction of nearly 143 kilometres of operational railway track with 35 turnouts, one station, three freight yards, one intermodal yard, 26 bridges and 59 culverts. Once the fourth and final phase is completed in 2030, this network will include lines to the GCC countries, the new port, and Hamad International Airport in Qatar.
Our long distance passenger rail lines will offer a quick and safe mode of public transport to citizens, in addition to help reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. A single rail journey replaces hundreds of private car trips, and utilises efficient technology such as electricity. This produces less pollution and reduces fuel dependency
We look forward to hear your insight and learn together from all regional experiences. Qatar Rail wishes you all the best stay in Doha. Thank you.