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Union Railway, the master developer and operator of the UAE's national railway, announced that it will tender civil engineering contracts in March.
Construction is planned to commence in mid-2011 following the naming of the winning company. At this stage, Union Railway is prequalifying bidders to begin the implementation of the first phase of railway network – the 270 km Shah Habshan Ruwais section.
The scope of work of this initial phase, also known as Stage 0, includes earthworks, laying down the track, building the railway bridges, installing the communications and signaling systems, as well as the construction of the depot and project offices at Mirfa.
The next two phases of the project will see the establishment of a network in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (Stage 1), and a network in the Northern Emirates (Stage 2).
Commenting on the tender, Union Railway CEO Richard Bowker said, "The development of an integrated and modern railway network is critical to enhancing the current freight transport system and driving economic growth in the UAE. A large number of leading international companies have expressed interest in competing in the prequalification, thereby allowing us to select the best partner to undertake the first steps in constructing the network."
Union Railway has appointed ATKINS as the Preliminary Engineering Services Consultant to oversee the execution of the three stages of the UAE's railway network, with the reselection of the Project Management Consultant soon to follow.
ATKINS has already begun work on the flagship project and the preliminary design for the Shah Habshan Ruwais line is to be completed next month. When complete, the railway will serve the whole country via a 1200km-long safe and cost-efficient rail network.