9 international companies or groups plan to bid for a contract that could be worth as much as RO60 million ($155 million) to design and consult on the construction of Oman’s first major railway.

Oman plans to build a 1,000 km (625 mile) railway at an estimated cost of around 5 billion rials, with completion in 2018. The line, part of a scheme to build rail links across Gulf Cooperation Council countries, will run from the northern border town of Buraimi to the southern city of Salalah.

“The companies have been asked to submit new bids to give the process more time. The new deadline is on October 5, for what we expect will be a contract worth between 45 and 60 million rials,” an official told Reuters.

He identified bidders as a consortium comprising Denmark’s COWI, DBI and AECOM of the United States; SYSTRA of France; U.S.-based Parsons Corp; Mott MacDonald of Britain; a consortium comprising Italy’s Italferr and Worsely Parsons of Australia; a China Railway company; France’s Egis Rail; the Pointec group; and a consortium of Korea Rail and the Hyundai group.