Posted on September 25, 2014

Qatar Railways Company (Qatar Rail) recently concluded a strategic workshop over the safety, security and resilience of the Qatar railway network, held in cooperation with governmental and private parties, from both the State of Qatar and the United Kingdom, within the framework of its ongoing coordination with various partners involved in the development of the public transport in Qatar.

During the closing session dedicated to the distribution of certificates of participation, Qatar Rail announced its proposed safety and security program, along with its recommendations and a full roadmap towards the future operation stage of Qatar’s railway. The session was attended by Director General of Public Security (DGPS) HE Staff Maj. Gen. Saad bin Jassim Al-Khulaifi, Managing Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Qatar Rail, Eng. Abdulla Abdulaziz Al Subaie, and Qatar Rail's CEO Eng. Saad Al Muhannadi in addition to leading security executives from the State of Qatar and the UK. On the occasion, Eng. Al Subaie handed an honorary trophy to HE Staff Maj. Gen. Saad bin Jassim Al-Khulaifi as a token of gratitude to MoI and security agencies for cooperating and supporting Qatar Rail’s projects.

The "Qatar Railway’s Security, Safety & Resilience Strategic Workshop", organized this month in presence of leading dignitaries from the transport and security sectors, led to strategic themes including: the preparation of laws and legislative regulations for the specializations of all concerned authorities, the command and control structures for integrated planning and inter-operability, the training and qualification dedicated to officials in the security and safety field, as well as the communication plan required among the involved parties to respond to incidents and the cooperation's efficiency between them.

Within the framework of cooperation between the state of Qatar and the United Kingdom, the workshop was organized with the participation of senior officials and representatives from the British Transport Police, London Fire Brigade, Transport for London, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority as well as legal and regulatory experts from Henderson Chambers and Clyde and Co, who were present throughout the workshop to share knowledge and experience, and discuss safety and security capability building across all specializations for the success of the railway project in Qatar.

Participants in the workshop from the Qatari part were representatives from each of the Ministry of Transport, Public Security representing the Ministry of Interior, the General Directorate of Civil Defense, Lekhwiya, Qatar Armed Forces, Ras Laffan College, Qatar Red Crescent/Ambulance, Health Care Providers, Independent Safety Assessor, Public Works Authority Ashghal and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL).

Qatar Rail issues a strategic program 2 [].jpgEng. Abdulla Abdulaziz Al Subaie, Managing Director of Qatar Rail, emphasized the importance of the strategic workshop’s outcomes, bringing together relevant Qatari and British officials around one of the largest infrastructure projects in Qatar.

"We are exerting our continuous efforts to bring the best specialists involved in the rail industry from around the world together with our Qatari executives to interact and exchange expertise. The workshop defined the plan to be adopted in the future to ensure the security, safety and readiness of the railway network in Qatar, in line with the international standards which we are keen to apply in all Qatar Rail projects," he said. "We were delighted to witness the mass participation of senior officials, regulatory experts and strategists from the State of Qatar as well as the knowledgeable British parties. Our company is always working to remain updated with global developments and keep pace with modern technologies in our field to set up a solid infrastructure in the sector of transport in line with the Qatar National Vision," Al Subaie added.

From his part, British Ambassador to Qatar H.E. Mr Nicholas Hopton expressed his optimism about the workshop’s outcomes. “This workshop is one example of the many ways in which the UK supports Qatar in its efforts to deliver the Vision for 2030 and an excellent World Cup in 2022. I am therefore very pleased that British experts have been able to hold this workshop with Qatari colleagues and am sure that it will provide a good foundation for Qatar as it develops its new rail network", he said.

Workshop themes

The fundamental workshop was held to determine the essential capability requirements to providing safety, security and resilience on Qatar’s mass transit systems. The content of the sessions has been designed for senior leaders who are involved or will be contributing in the future to ensure the successful operations of Qatar railway network.

The workshop major themes focused on emergency planning and response on the railway network while taking into consideration the unique nature of mass transit systems when planning for and implementing the safety & security program. The workshop also displayed transport policies and security models addressing the legal and regulatory issues, and the relationships between different institutions and agencies. This is besides providing the attendees with the opportunity of trading information over the international borders and the intelligence sharing, all related to the long-distance interstate railway.

The workshop’s sessions included presentations from the participating parties to pave way for the discussions, while the interactive sessions joined nearly a hundred participants who formed a number of teams and discussed their shared vision about the security and safety of the railway. The teams conducted a number of practices, applications and study models related to this context, whereas the closing session was held in the last day to come up with conclusions and results.

Qatar Rail issues a strategic program 3 [].jpgWorkshop outcome

Explaining the objectives and outcome of the workshop, Qatar Rail's CEO Eng. Saad Al Muhannadi, said: "The interaction between the local partners and British experts came as fruitful as expected. This gathering underlined the critical need for all incident services to support railway event management incident response," he said. "The workshop demonstrated the benefits and importance of having specialized units performing dedicated functions to support the operations of the railway network, and we’ve also reached a blueprint of the safety, security and resilience capabilities required and chart over the preparations and certifications necessary to allow Qatar railway operations at the desired level," Al Muhannadi added.

For his part, Dr. Fahad Al Jaber, Quality, Health, Safety, Environment (QHSE) Director at Qatar Rail, assured that the company’s keenness to maintain international standards in the areas of Occupational health and safety, quality, environment, security and risk assessment.

"Safety, security and incident response are on the top of the company's priorities as we are always keen to providing the highest levels of safety for our projects, with using the best prevention systems that preserve the health and safety of workers and future passengers at the railway network," he said. "The workshop, which relied on the participation of experts from foreign countries operating in the trains’ network, is a starting point for the study developed by Qatar Rail, aiming to upgrade our standards to a higher level of railway operations in Qatar. During the event, we were able to develop an integrated plan for responding to emergencies and potential accidents in a professional and organized manner," Dr. Al Jaber added.

Throughout the workshop, Al Jaber displayed Qatar Rail’s QHSE approach for the safety and security of the rail network, as well as the efforts pursued by the company's administration and the concerned governmental parties in this regard, in order to provide expertise and strengthen cooperation with the participants.

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