By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter
The trial and testing operations of the Doha Metro are expected to start towards the end of next year, senior officials of Qatar Rail revealed yesterday.
“The coaches, each nearly 20m long, are expected to arrive towards the end of this year,” Qatar Rail managing director Abdulla Abdulaziz al-Subaie stated.
It has been announced earlier that the first phase of the ambitious project, consisting of more than 108km of tracks and 40 stations, would be operational towards the end of 2019.
Al-Subaie was speaking at a ceremony to announce the completion of the tunnelling of the northern section of the 42km long Red Line, at Doha Golf Club, in the presence of Qatar Rail CEO Saad al-Mohannadi.
Briefing journalists about the ongoing works, the officials said that electrical, mechanical and signalling works in the tunnels were expected to start towards the end of the year. This would be followed by more developmental works, including the test runs towards the last quarter of next year.
While expressing confidence that tunnelling of more than 85km of the first phase of the Doha Metro would be over latest by the end of this year, the Qatar Rail officials said that more than 95% of the tunnelling of the 22km Green Line between Mansoura and Al Riffa (via Mushereib and Mall of Qatar in Rayyan) was now complete.
More than 51% of the Green Line project is also over. Of the 22km, as much as 19km are underground. Commuters will be able to travel the 22km in 24 minutes as against more than 64 minutes by road. The Green Line consists of 11 stations.
More than 38% of the works on the Gold Line between Ras Abu Aboud and Al Aziziya is complete and 80% of the tunnelling is also finished. The 15km line will feature 11 stations.
Al-Subaie said that almost 70% of the total contracts of the project were executed by local contractors even though the quantum of financial commitments covered by their contracts were still to be worked out.
Replying to a question on tunnel-boring machines (TBMs), the project director for the consortium of Impregillo-SK E & C and Galfar al-Misnad (ISG), Barry Crouchman, said that one had already been returned to Germany for refurbishing and deployment elsewhere soon. Four more TBMs will be sent back in the next six to eight weeks while two are ready for shipping after completing their tasks.
It may be recalled that as many as 21 TBMs were at work simultaneously in Qatar as part of the Doha Metro project in a Guinness World Record.
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