Bahn seals massive deal with Qatar and Bahrain

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said on Sunday it had signed a multi-billion-euro contract to build high-speed railway lines and underground transport networks in Qatar and Bahrain.

Bahn seals massive deal with Qatar and Bahrain
Photo: DPA

The total investment earmarked for the projects amounts to €17 billion, the firm said in a statement.

With its Qatari partners, Deutsche Bahn will design and build a metro system for the capital Doha, comprised of four lines with 98 stations and a total length of 300 kilometres.

In addition, a 180-kilometre-long high-speed line to neighbouring Bahrain is envisaged, with trains capable of travelling 350 kilometres per hour.

Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube signed the deal in Doha in the presence of Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who is also foreign minister, as well as German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer.

The contract creates a new company called the Qatar Railways Development Company, which will be 49-percent owned by Deutsche Bahn and 51-percent by Qatari Diar, Qatar’s state-owned infrastructure and property development firm.

This development firm will control a planning budget of €700 million.

“We are proud and delighted that the Qatari government has chosen Deutsche Bahn as its partner for this ambitious infrastructure project,” said Grube in a statement.

“Such a project helps us to secure jobs at home at an economically difficult time,” he added.

Ramsauer said the contract demonstrated that German technology, especially in the domain of transportation, was in world-wide demand.

Deutsche Bahn added that it hoped to win more contracts in the Middle East following what it hoped would be a fruitful partnership with Qatar.

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Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains

A swan mourning the death of its companion on a German railway track held up 23 trains for almost an hour and had to be removed by firefighters using special equipment, police said.

Swan Late: Mourning bird holds up German trains
A swan sat on the tracks, mourning its companion. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Bundespolizei/Bundespolizei

The two birds had strayed onto the track area of the high-speed line between Kassel and Göttingen in central Germany “during an excursion”, according to Kassel police.

One of the birds died, likely after getting caught in the overhead power cables, said the statement on the December 23rd incident, which was made public late on Monday.

Its companion then sat beside the body in mourning, resisting attempts by officials to lure it away and temporarily closing the line to traffic.

Firefighters with special equipment were later called in and managed to lift the dead swan and its surviving companion away from the area.

Twenty-three trains were delayed for about 50 minutes while the rescue operation took place, the police statement said.

The surviving swan was unharmed and later released onto the river Fulda, it

According to Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, swans try to find a mate for life.