Oman will next year begin building its first railway network at a cost of up to $15.5 billion, the Gulf sultanate's Transport Minister Ahmed al-Futaisi said on Sunday.
Construction is to be launched in the last quarter of 2014, Futaisi told AFP, and trains are to start running at the beginning of 2018.
Signup to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
The 2,244-kilometre (1,394-mile) railway is part of a regional rail network expected to link the six Gulf Cooperation Council monarchies -- based on a 2004 agreement.
"The Omani government is committed to funding at least the infrastructure works of the project estimated to cost between five and six billion riyals (between $12.9 billion and $15.5 billion)," said Futaisi.
Development aid worth $10 billion over 10 years which was pledged to Oman by its Arab neighbours in the Gulf could be used in the funding of the railway project, he said.