The Jeddah-based English daily 'Arab News' reported today that a rail network linking all the major capitals across the Middle East region could become a reality within a decade, as more governments see it as a means of increasing trade and tourism. A feasibility study for a railway linking all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states is currently being considered by GCC transport ministers, and a Middle East Rail Projects Conference is scheduled for December 12 and 13 in Dubai.
The GCC project involves a railroad extending 1,984 kilometers, running parallel to the Gulf coast from the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border down through Saudi Arabia to Qatar and on to Oman. Links could be made from countries outside the GCC to forming an Arab rail network. A region-wide rail network would make trade between states more efficient, and more cost effective, as well as generating increased tourism for the entire Middle East.