Russian Railway Projects Envisaged for Mideast, Gulf, Africa
June 12, 2012 • 7:57AM

As Ria Novosti reported Monday, Russia's state monopoly, Russian Railways, plans to participate in various railway projects worth of total nearly $3 billion in the Middle East and Africa. The Russian Railways' foreign projects subsidiary Zarubezhstroitekhnologia (ZST) expects to get a contract for about $250 million to electrify a 190 km railway in Iran, the head of the subsidiary Yuri Nikolsson said. "The talks about our participation in several rather interesting projects in Iran are being held. One of the projects stipulates a contract of about $250 million," he told Prime news agency.

The company's current projects include electrification of the Tabriz-Azarshahr railway which is almost completed, he added. The projects will be implemented by ZST, Nikolsson said.

The company has great prospects in the Persian Gulf where countries of that region are planning infrastructure construction worth about a $1 trillion. The Arab countries are going to unite the entire region with a railway network, Nikolsson told Prime news.

As for the concrete projects with the Arab states, the subsidiary is going to bid for a $2 billion railway construction project near the U.A.E. capital of Abu Dhabi. The city government wants to have 700 kilometers of railways to transport mainly cargo at a speed of 150-160 kph. "It was announced that there would be a railway, railway stations, depots, and the entire necessary infrastructure. [According to the project,] the railway must be ready in 2015 and all infrastructures in Abu Dhabi must be completed in 2016," he said.

Results of the tender will be known in August or September 2012. If the ZST wins the tender, there will be from 150 to 200 Russian engineers working at the project, Nikolsson said. The ZST also plans to bid for a $3-4 billion light metro network project in Kuwait, for railway projects in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "After Dubai built light metro, almost all countries of the Persian Gulf want to do the same," Nikolsson added.