After six years of construction, Qatar’s new underground railway network has finally partially opened, and its trains will be driverless. The first part of the Doha Metro Red Line will travel along the coast from the district of Al-Qassar in Doha to the southern city of Al-Wakrah, a journey of approximately 35 minutes in length. It also connects to Hamad International Airport in the centre of the city.
This will be vitally important to Qatar in 2022, as Al-Wakrah is the home of one of the eight football stadiums that will host the World Cup. Construction for the Doha Metro started in 2013 and the first phase has opened a year ahead of schedule. At present, 13 out of the 18 stations on the 40km Red Line route are now operational and there is a journey time of three minutes between stations.
The driverless trains travel at a speed of 80 to 100 km per hour and can carry over 410 people and seat 130. There are three compartments – standard class, family section and Gold Club, and while travelling in the standard compartment costs 2 riyals (€0.47), the Gold Club section costs 10 riyals (€2.37). The operating hours will run from 8am to 11pm on weekdays, and there will be a train every six minutes.
The service will stop at weekends to progress the work required to open more stations and lines. Qatar is aiming to complete 37 stations and add two more lines, the Green Line and the Gold Line, by 2020. The second phase of construction, including an additional Blue line and 60 more stations, is expected to be completed by 2026.
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