Muscat: Oman's 2,244-km-long national railway project offers huge business opportunities for the private sector, especially for contracting and manufacturing firms, when the construction work starts next year, said a senior official of the consultancy firm that won the preliminary design contract.
Presenting a paper on 'business opportunities in rail' at a panel discussion, Luca Beccastrini, Middle East Area Manager of Italferr — the Italian engineering firm that won the consultancy services for preliminary design contract for the national railway project — said the national railway will need 30 small stations, 10 interim stations, six large stations and eight marshalling yards.
Further, the railway project will need 12,000km of rail, 10 million sleepers, 20 million elastic pads and 2.25 million metres of pipes, 35 tunnels, 45 viaduct and 98 pedestrian crossings.
"Rail production will be profitable in view of such a huge demand," he said, adding; "A large number of plants are required in different locations for manufacturing sleepers." The national railway project, which is 700-kms long and 120-kms wide, is divided into nine segments, which include Duqm-Thumrait-Salalah, Sohar Port-Muscat, Al Misfah-Sinaw, Thumrait-Al Mayzouna (Yemen border) and Sohar Port-Khatmat Malalah (UAE border).
The railway will also need 15 diesel engines, 80 passenger coaches and 40 freight coaches as rolling stocks.
Beccastrini said as much as 23 million cubic metres of ballast and sub-ballast are required for building railway line, and 670,000 bars (of 18m length) needed for completing the project.
There is also a need for stocking sites and crushing plants in different locations. The contractors will need concrete batch plants, including mobile ones, as well as pre-cast plants.
Business opportunities also exist in areas like power supply as well as in supplying signal equipment as the local partners are needed in installation and commissioning. Italferr, which joined hands with KEO consultants, has already started work on the preliminary design and the initial work is to collect data.