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Sat 1 Jun 2013 11:01 AM

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Qatar rail plan 'will avoid Doha airport-type delays'

Huge infrastructure project has 'contingencies' in place, says Qatar Rail chief technical officer

Qatar rail plan 'will avoid Doha airport-type delays'
Workers install the first track of the new French high speed train (TGV) Lyon-Strasbourg line in Les Magny, eastern France, on June 29, 2009. The line will be opened in 2011. AFP PHOTO SEBASTIEN BOZON (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN BOZON/AFP/Getty Images)

The $38bn rail network planned for Qatar will not suffer the same delays and hurdles faced by its much delayed new international airport, a leading executive working on the project told Arabian Business.

“We do have some contingencies time-wise and money-wise in our budget but this programME has been verified by various consultants and they all confirmed that it is realistic, so it is not an unrealistic time schedule. There might be delays but however we think we can match the dates we gave,” Daniel Leckel, Qatar Rail chief technical officer told Arabian Business in an interview.

Leckel said Qatar Rail was determined it would not suffer the delays seen at the new airport.

Doha’s much-delayed Hamad International Airport (HIA) was originally set to open on April 1 after three years of delays and postponed openings but the $15.5bn project’s inauguration was cancelled at the last minute because it had not met the new safety standards set by the Civil Defense.

A tram system within a Light Rail Transit in Lusail is expected to be completed by 2017 and later in West Bay. Phase one of the Qatar Rail masterplan will see the construction of 48 stations on 131km of track of which 48 percent underground with no visual impact: this phase is expected to be completed by 2019.

The second phase of the project includes A 100km network with 44 stations to be completed by 2026.

Residents in Qatar are also concerned regarding the impact of the construction of the railway on the traffic and roads viability.

“It would not be right to say that there will be no impact, however what we have committed ourselves to is that if we have to close a road, there is going to be the same number of lanes during the construction than there were before, so that there will be some impact but not huge” said Leckel.

In February, Qatar Rail CEO Saad Al Muhannadi said the project will offer $38bn in investment opportunities for potential investors over the next 20 years.

The figure was based on a study commissioned from McKinsey, which claimed there are around 200 opportunities, 75 percent of which will be based around rail infrastructure like construction and operation maintenance.

Qatar is investing $36bn in its railway network, which should be completed in time for the FIFA 2022 World Cup, with Phase 1 of Doha Metro scheduled to be operational by the end of 2019.

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