Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Isn't it high time we get our very own Railway (Monorail/Metro) system?

Monorail systems have been built in many countries around the world, many of them on elevated tracks through crowded areas that would otherwise require the construction of expensive underground lines or have the disadvantages of surface lines.

Isn't it time for a Railway System here in little old K.O.Bahrain?

Again, Dubai beat us to the punch a long time ago; back in 1997 they commissioned a feasibility study known as R7100, which was completed by 2000, it concluded that Dubai could no longer wholly rely on Roads Transport System to cater to its escalating traffic demands. The findings also recommended a need for a transit system to ease congestion.

Quote from their site: Dubai Metro
The Dubai government commissioned studies to “evaluate most efficient and cost-effective solution to combat traffic congestion” that resulted in the birth of Dubai Metro. Termed as the flagship project of the Roads and Transport Authority, this 15.5 billion Dirhams project will be a benchmark in terms of its state-of-the-art engineering, being an architectural showpiece and for its direct role in providing social benefits.

The project will be delivered in two phases wherein the first stage will construct the Red Line and will run along the famous Sheikh Zayed Road, on a viaduct. The second phase that will deliver the Green line will be built mostly underground. The Red line (Phase I) is marked for completion on September, 2009 while the Green Line (Phase II) is scheduled to be completed in March 2010.

An article published in the GDN on 21 June 2007 under the title ‘Mega railway project is discussed’, may be a hint that our Government has now somewhat realized that we too require a railway system or metro that is most appropriate for our needs.

Their aim should be to providing a cheaper and alternative mode of transport; it should be a means to ease the dependency on cars and thereby reduce traffic congestion.

The implementation of the metro will not only ease congestion but will also help to improve economic development and urban regeneration, and help reduce pollution. (I stole this like from the Dubai metro site)


Lets be realistic, the people who can most afford such a project (other than the Government) and actually be adversely affected by its implementation, if they are not part owners or involved, are the recognizable names like E.K. Kanoo, Zayani Group, Almoayyed, BinHindi, National Motor, Behbehani and so on…. Yes, all the giant CAR Dealership owners who are currently wreaking the benefits of an extraordinarily high car sale figure for the past couple of years.

Yes, if such a project becomes reality in the K.O.Bahrain, provided it’s a carefully thought out and intricate network that covers all or most of the areas around the Island, then believe you me when I say that you will get a lot less demand for cars.

There would be a lot less demand for continuous usage of cars; the roads would be less congested, exceptions would be for very long distances not covered by the railway; usually trips to be taken abroad via the Saudi Causeway and later the Bahrain Qatar causeway, the latter may not really necessitate your own personal car as the talk going around is that there will also be a train system built onto the bridge.

Exciting times or NOT!

Ooh, I can just dream of such a day, it would be a huge leap for our country. Sadly, my biggest fear is this may only remain a dream and never a reality, taking into view the fact that a few weeks back, the newspapers indicated that the Government hand a long term Roads Transport System modification plan that goes past 2020. ??

What the hell is that? If we take their word for it, then the projected date for an online fully functional up and running system would be 2080.

I don’t believe I’ll be alive by them, you never know.

BUT for now, I will continue to use my car, and wait impatiently in the long queues, or at the redundant Traffic lights, or search desperately for a vacant parking spot near my residence; while other countries in the GCC surpass us.

a) Mono Rail - A monorail is a single rail serving as a track for a wheeled vehicle; also, a vehicle traveling on such a track.

b) A rapid transit, underground, subway, tube, elevated, or metro (politan) system is a railway—usually in an urban area—with a high capacity and frequency of service, and grade separation from other traffic. In most parts of the world these systems are known as a "metro", in London the system is called the "underground", while in most of North America and in Glasgow, Scotland it is a "subway".

c) To be updated shortly.