The Abu Dhabi-based owner of a planned $11-billion railway network across the United Arab Emirates has selected a Parsons Corp.-AECOM joint venture as the project's program manager, say both company sources who did not wish to be named and published reports in the Middle East. The owner, Etihad Rail Co., formerly Union Railway, has declined requests to confirm either the selection or contract award.

The joint venture would replace a team of Parsons and Paris-based SYSTRA, whose PM contract was canceled in January, just two months after the railway announced its selection of the firms. Reasons for the termination were not disclosed publicly or to team members.

The owner also canceled in January a contract for preliminary engineering services awarded last fall to Parsons Brinckerhoff, also with no public statement or explanation to the firm. Its work on three rail system phases was shifted to U.K.-based Atkins, which had won a smaller, early-stage project design contract. Contract values also were not disclosed.