The objective is to open the line in 2017 which would require construction to start in 2012-14.

A 40km bridge paralleling the existing road causeway connection between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia would be the centrepiece of the project. Land acquisition and civil works are estimated to cost $US 3.1bn and trains a further $US 1.8bn.

The project would eventually form part of the Gulf Cooperation Council's plan to build a railway from Kuwait via Dammam, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to Oman.