Qatar Rail’s soft launch this week of its brand-new Doha Metro a year early bodes well for the nation’s ambitious mega-project
The ‘preview service’ of Qatar’s new urban transit rail features air-conditioned, trains travelling at 100 km/h between gleaming stations designed to evoke traditional tents and mother-of-pearl and marks a major milestone on track for the World Cup 2022 as well as a considerable triumph for its leadership.
Doha Metro is already notable among major international infrastructure projects for launching ahead of schedule and within budget while maintaining an impressive safety record, with work on its Green Line alone at one point showing a log of six million man-hours without lost time injury. With over three-quarters of its contracts awarded to local companies, the project can also justifiably claim to have contributed substantially to Qatar’s economic buoyancy, while delivering a major part of the National Vision 2030 led by the Emir.
Eng. Abdulla Saif Al Sulaiti, Chief of Service Delivery at Qatar Rail, said: “The preview service is a testament to the tremendous efforts carried out by Qatar Rail’s executive teams and board of directors, as well as the continuous support of His Excellency the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The outcome of the preview service is essential for us, and we will build on these as we prepare for the full opening of the network by 2020.”
Ajlan Eid Al Enazi, Chief of Strategies and Business Development at Qatar Rail, said: “Doha Metro is considered one of the key pillars of Qatar’s new integrated transport system. We invite everyone to share with us their experience of the metro during this phase so that we can review build on the factors and develop solutions to enhance the passenger experience.”
The preview service comprises a section of the coastal Red Line scheduled to open weekdays 08.00–23.00 with trains every six minutes, closing at weekends for work to continue. Full network is set to open in 2020, including the Al Hamad airport branch line and the Gold, Green and (eventually) Blue Line, connecting other major destinations including five World Cup stadiums, Education City and historic sites. Smart integration with local transport services is intended to further reduce car use in the crowded city.
This efficient, clean, and convenient public-transport system will help to distinguish Qatar as an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development and maintaining excellent environmental credentials in the run-up to the World Cup, and the launch of the Doha Metro, set to be the fastest of its kind in the region, can only provide a huge boost to the nation’s ambitions as a sporting, touristic and business destination.