Interoperability the Key Challenge for Middle East Railway Projects

Early action needs to be taken to ensure there is effective interoperability among the new railway systems of the Middle East,speakers will tell the 10th MEED MENA Rail & Metro conference next month.

The region is now witnessing the largest railway investment in its history. It comprises more than $100bn worth of major railway and metro projects that will transform the transport network of the GCC and the wider Middle East.”

“Our target is to look to interoperability in the whole region and to make our railways operate across the whole system,” says Vasile Nicolae Olievschi, railway adviser, National Transport Authority (NTA) of the UAE. “We also need to have operational structure that will fit together.”

Olievschi will participate in the regulation, standardisation panel session during the conference’s first day on 21 October. Others on the panel include Philippe Citroen, director general of the Association of the European Rail Industry and Chris Dulake, chief engineer of Crossrail of the UK.The 73 mile-long Crossrail project under construction in London is due for completion in 2018. It is one of the largest and most complex railway projects in Europe.

The MEED MENA Rail & Metro Conference is being held at The Conrad Hotel, Dubai.

The panellists will tell the conference that the lack of interoperability is one of the largest challenges planners of Middle East railway projects need to address.

“I want to expand about the risk of lack of interoperability if we don’t work together” says Olievschi. “The aim is to achieve interoperability in the way Europe and the US has done. We have a better chance of getting this right because we are starting from scratch.”

“The procurement of the fixed assets and rolling stock needed for the GCC railway, which is due to start operating in 2018, and key metro systems is proceeding,” says MEED Events chairman Edmund O’Sullivan. “Minds are now turning to the challenge of making sure what is being built operates efficiently. Cross-border collaboration including ensuring signaling systems are consistent will save the region hundreds of millions of dollars and that is why this issue will be at the top of the agenda of this year’s MEED MENA Rail & Metro Conference.”

The conversation about MENA rail and metro projects will be continued this October at the 10th Annual MENA Rail and Metro Summit in Dubai. Visit for more information about the Summit and its star speaker line up.

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