SMRT appointed as Dubai’s Palm Monorail operator

(DUBAI) SMRT Corp, Singapore’s subway operator, will run a monorail on Dubai’s Palm Island for Nakheel, a developer owned by the Emirate.

The contract will cover maintenance and operation of the 1.4 billion dirhams (S$579.2 million) project, Nakheel said in an e-mail statement yesterday.

Nakheel has about US$30 billion of construction projects under way in Dubai spreading across two billion square feet of land, including the three ‘Palm’ islands, made from sand reclaimed from the sea. The Palm Monorail is the first in the Middle East and is being built by a group led by Marubeni Corp, Japan’s fifth-largest trading company.

Other means of mass transit are also being studied by developers in Dubai and neighbouring Abu Dhabi, as both sheikhdoms plan large-scale housing projects.

The monorail will link up with the Dubai Metro, the Persian Gulf’s first commuter metro.

Mitsubishi Corp, Japan’s largest trading company, won the US$3.4 billion contract to build the 72 kilometre light railway in 2005.

The driverless Palm monorail will carry up to 2,400 passengers per hour in each direction. The track is scheduled to open by November 2008. — Bloomberg

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