GULF: Ambitious proposals to build urban rail networks have been unveiled by authorities in Doha and Kuwait City.

Both projects are intended to complement existing plans for a network of main lines and suburban routes across the Gulf states (RG 12.07 p756).

A 140 km light rail network has been proposed as part of Qatar's bid to stage the 2016 Olympic Games. As well as serving all the proposed Olympic venues, the network would connect Doha International Airport with the port and hotel district. Work is expected to start on an initial phase of 85 route-km in 2009, with services anticipated to begin in 2015.

Kuwait plans to build a metro to support its proposed 518 route-km main line network. Four lines are envisaged, totalling 171 route-km, and the project has a budget of US$11bn. Tenders are likely to be called later this year, and completion is forecast by 2016, according to officials. Around a third of the network is expected to be underground.