GCC Railway; New Rail Network

to Connect SaudiArabia, Bahrain, and GCC

In 2023, notable strides continue to mark the advancement of the GCC
railway project. Following the official announcement by the GCC secretariat
in January 2021, effectively rekindling the project, a sequence of recent
developments and declarations have underscored the commitment of all six
bloc members to their respective segments of the rail network.

Early in July, representatives from Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and
Telecommunications engaged with a delegation from the GCC Rail
Authority, spearheaded by Nasser Hamad al-Qahtani and Abdullah bin
Abdulaziz al-Samaani. The focal point of their discussions centered on the
railway link bridging Saudi Arabia and Bahrain via the envisioned King
Hamad Causeway. The evaluation encompassed the headway of this
ambitious cross-border endeavor. The meeting facilitated an exchange of
insights regarding engineering blueprints and coordination channels
between the two nations.

Extending inward by 21 kilometers into Saudi Arabia and 24 kilometers into
Bahrain from the King Hamad Causeway, the railway is set to be an integral
artery of connectivity. Notably, the stretch traversing Bahrain’s landscape is
projected to interconnect with the larger envisioned GCC railway network.
As far back as November 2019, esteemed entities such as the Netherlands’
KPMG, the U.S.-based Aecom, and Germany’s CMS had been appointed
as advisers for this project.

An impactful milestone arrived in January 2022 when GCC leaders granted
approval for the establishment of the GCC Rail Authority. Tasked with
comprehensive policy-making and harmonization amongst member states,
the company shoulders the responsibility of ensuring seamless
implementation and operation of the overarching scheme.

This renewed momentum, fostered by heightened project activity and
government investments, coupled with the agreements stemming from the
Al-Ula declaration, augur well for the GCC railway project’s prospects.
Should the railway realize fruition, it possesses the potential to wield
transformative influence in a region that, while perceiving global
connectivity, grapples with internal divisions among its constituents.

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