Saudi Arabia – Kuwait Railway Project to Have High-Speed Bullet Train
With countries in the Middle East vying for railway connectivity, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are set for a railroad linkage project. This is an ambitious project with Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The first phase of the project will establish a rail link from the southern border with Saudi Arabia to the passenger station in Kuwait City.
The project was given the go ahead during a cabinet meeting headed by the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman. Kuwait is already conducting consultancy studies and surveys for the first stage of the 565 km Kuwait Railway Project.
This comes after Kuwait approved the pact in June for a safe and effective rail transport with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait Railway Project No Impact on Other Projects
The Kuwait government said the joint rail link project will have no impact on other rail projects underway in the region. The Kuwait Railway Project will boast high-speed bullet train service shuttling between Riyadh and Kuwait City.
According to documents, the project encompasses 111 km of the GCC route and an additional 154 km leading to Mubarak Al-Kabeer Port. It will facilitate passenger and freight transportation and boost plans for service and transport of goods to and from Boubyan Island – a total length of 265 km.
This project will be overseen by the Kuwaiti General Authority for Roads and Land Transport. Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works said it is necessary to expedite coordination between the competent authorities to remove any obstacles that may hinder the project.
The region has been planning for such a rail link since the late 2000s. It remained at just the plan stage for years because of the global financial crisis in 2009 followed by the Arab uprisings in 2011, and the collapse of oil prices in 2014. Plans had been for the railway to run through Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Similar Projects in the Region
The Middle East is soon to witness an infrastructure boom. Sheikh Hamid bin Jassim, the former prime minister of Qatar highlighted China’s Silk Road initiative that connects China with Europe via Kuwait, Iraq and Turkiye. He called for a study of projects to clarify the optimal ways for Arab countries to preserve their rights and not be limited to mere corridors.
There’s also Iraq’s $17 billion road and rail project that seeks to link Asia and Europe. Iraq envisions high-speed trains transporting goods and passengers at up to 300 km per hour. And during the G20 summit in New Delhi, the Saudi Crown Prince announced the India-Middle East-Europe corridor. Mohammed Bin Salman highlighted the kingdom’s efforts to develop necessary infrastructure including railways, connecting ports and enhancing trade.