ORC to award the design-and-build (DB) package of Section 1 of the national railway project by Q2 2015

Posted on 14th June 2015

Oman Railway Company (ORC) is expected to award the design-and-build (DB) package of Sultanate’s national railway project – Section 1 by the second quarter of 2015, according to a source.

“On 18th January 2015, the ORC, which is under the Ministry of Transport and Communication, had received technical bids for the first design-and-build package. The deadline for the commercial bids was 1st March 2015 with the contract award expected to be by mid second quarter 2015,” said the source who did not wish to be named.

Section 1 will connect the port of Sohar to the UAE border at Buraimi, where it will link up with UAE’s Etihad rail network in Abu Dhabi and construction is expected to commence by end of 2015.

“Section 1 scope includes construction of a total length of 171 kilometres with three sub sections: a 136 kilometres connecting Sohar to UAE border at Al Sunaynah/Al Ain, a 27 kilometres spur to Al Buraimi and an 18 kilometres spur to the Sohar railway yard, two 2.9 kilometres long tunnels, two 330 metres cut-and-cover sections, 51 viaduct sections totalling 16.7 kilometres,” according to the source.

He added, ORC had recently awarded a US$ 149 million project management consultancy (PMC) contract to a consortium led by Spain’s Tecnicas Reunidas. The other shortlisted bidders who competed were Parsons Brinkerhoff, Hill International, Dohwa Engineering and Parsons International.

The project management consultant’s scope involves a complete review of the preliminary design work of the rail network already prepared by Italferr, the preliminary design consultant, for the Oman National rail project and overseeing contract processes, extend contract management as well as construction supervision, provide project management services, to oversee the procurement of rolling stock and procurement of the services of a rail transport operator in coordination with the government. Also as part of its remit, the PMC will be responsible for testing and commissioning of the completed railway system of each segment planned for the Oman Railway project.

Italferr, the preliminary design consultant has been awarded US$ 32 million two-year contract to provide preliminary design services. The other shortlisted bidders who competed were Germany’s DB International with the bid of US$ 43 million and National Engineering Office at US$ 59 million.

Abu Timam Grant Thornton has been awarded a US$ 0.779 million contract to advise on the structure of ORC, while Dar Al-Takween has a US$ 0.260 million contract to develop a brand identity for the railway.

According to Oman’s local English website Times Of Oman dated 13th August 2014, Oman’s overall rail network involves the construction of a 2,244 kilometres network that will ultimately connect the sultanate’s major ports and cities, including Muscat, Sohar, Duqm and Salalah, in addition to linking with the UAE’s Etihad Railway project.

US$ 15 billion Oman rail network is to be developed in nine phases. These are expected to include a line from Duqm-Thumrait-Salalah, Sohar Port-Muscat, Al Misfah-Sinaw, Thumrait-Al Mayzouna and Sohar Port-Khatmat Malalah. The whole railway network will have 35 kilometres of tunnels and 40 kilometres of bridges, and the building of 50 terminals and 8 marshalling yards. In total, this will require 12,000 kilometres of track, 10 million concrete sleepers and 40 million fasteners.

The railway project is expected to be operational by end of 2018.

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