RKH Qitarat (the joint venture of Keolis, RATP Dev and the Hamad Group) have completed Doha’s driverless metro network with the opening of the green line and the second section of the red line. This follows the recent opening of the gold line and the first section of the red. The launch comes in time for the FIFA Club World Cup which begins on Wednesday 11 December and for the Football World Cup that Qatar will host in 2022.
The 20-year contract awarded in December 2017 by Qatar Rail covers operation and maintenance of the entire metro network comprising a total of three lines, 75 kilometres long and 37 stations, as well as the Lusail tram network expected to open in 2020. This is the country’s first urban rail network and a key part of ‘Qatar Vision 2030’, a strategic plan established by the Qatari government designed to enhance Doha’s appeal by diversifying and improving shared mobility options.
The driverless metro of Doha – a smooth launch
Following an intensive 24-month preparation period, the three lines of Doha’ automated metro are now fully operational, offering residents and visitors easy access to business, commercial and tourism hubs. The red line (40 km long), for example, covers the cultural village of Katara, the bustling Souq, Doha’s popular Corniche and Hamad International Airport. The green line (22 km) connects the Qatar National Convention Centre, the Mall of Qatar, the Qatar National Library and Education City with the town’s universities and modern hospitals. The Gold line (14 km) serves the iconic national museum, the Villagio Mall and the Aspire Zone sporting complex. Although the red line’s Legtaifiya station is operational, it will only open to the public in 2020 when the tram is launched.
The metro service runs from Sunday to Thursday (from 6am to 11pm) and on Friday (from 2pm to 11pm).
The automated and driverless metro network is equipped with Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) technology – a control system based on WiFi communication between vehicles and computers regulating traffic. The metro trainsets are manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the signalling is provided by Thales.
Thierry Couderc, Managing Director of RKH declared: “Today is a big day for both the people of Qatar and visitors who will be able to move around the city using a world-class public transport network featuring the most advanced technology. We have worked closely with Qatar Rail in the run-up to this opening to guarantee swift and safe journeys for our passengers. We will continue to do so with the aim of rapidly growing ridership on this comfortable and environmentally-friendly shared mobility solution.”
A tram network in Lusail, connected to Doha metro
The contract also covers operation and maintenance of four tram lines in Lusail, a new city located 15 km from Doha and due to become home to 200,000 residents. This tram network is made up of 18 km of track and features four lines equipped with 28 Alstom-built trams serving 25 stations, half of them underground. Lusail tram connects to the Doha Metro through two interchange stations at Lusail and Legtaifiya. It is scheduled to open in two phases in mid-2020.
Qatar’s first urban rail network
Today, RKH Qitarat employs 1,400 people of 33 different nationalities, speaking a range of different languages including Arabic, English, Hindi, and Tagalog. During the metro network preparation period, RKH Qitarat also employed some 1,500 staff from subcontractors.
The metro and tram network constitute a major urban project of crucial importance for Doha and its surrounding suburbs which are home to some 2.6 million people accounting for 90% of the Qatari population.