Tenders for a $25bn rail network spanning the entire Arabian Gulf are to be issued in the first quarter of 2010.

The regional rail network will link the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) states with a 2,117km long network, to be open by 2017.

The project will start by linking Kuwait with Saudi Arabia, with construction of the lines connecting Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to follow.

Up to five companies will be shortlisted for the mega project according to Mohammad Bin Obeid Al Mazroui, the assistant secretary-general for economic affairs, who announced the plans in Arabic daily Al-Ittihad.

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