MUSCAT: Oman will next year begin building its first railway network at a cost of up to $15.5bn, the Gulf sultanate’s Transport Minister Ahmed Al Futaisi said yesterday.
Construction is to be launched in the last quarter of 2014, Al Futaisi said and trains are to start running at the beginning of 2018.
The 2,244km railway is part of a regional rail network expected to link the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries — based on a 2004 agreement. “The Omani government is committed to funding at least infrastructure works of the project estimated to cost between 5bn and 6bn riyals ($12.9bn to $15.5bn),” said Al Futaisi.
Development aid worth $10bn over 10 years which was pledged to Oman by its Arab neighbours in the Gulf could be used in the funding of the railway project, he added. Agencies