KSA completes mineral railway project

Line links mines in North to the East Coast.
NEWS

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A senior official announced the completion of the Saudi mineral rail line linking mines north of the Kingdom to production facilites in Ras Al Zour on the country's eastern Arabian Gulf region.

Ibrahim Al-Assaf, KSA's Minister of Finance, said that a successful trial of the line and systems was carried out recently when a locomotive carrying a 200 tonne load of raw material left the Saudi Mining Company's northern mines and unloaded in Ras Al-Zour in the country's eastern region.

The 1,392km line connects the Hazm Al-Jalameed phosphate mines in the Northern Border Province to the easterm manufacturing area, passing through Hail, Qassim and Jouf into the Eastern Province.

The network will be used to haul phosphate and bauxite mining products in the north of the country that will link up with processing plants and smelters on the Gulf coast. The service will also increase to other cargo operations, as well as goods and passengers.

The project, constructed by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR), used 350mcubic metres of sand and rock plus 170,000 tons of steel to create the line and its 912 crossings and 71bridges constructed and 170,000 tonnes of steel used.

Once fully operational, the trains will complete the journey, hauling 15,000 tons of raw material between the mines and production zones. That, according to senior officials, will be the equivalent of 600 trucks.

Last year, rolling stock started arriving in the country with the first 155 of 688 specialised wagons from Chinese manufacturers CSR landing. Six of the planned 25 diesel locomotives from Canada-based American firm EMD also arrived, allowing KSA rail officials to begin training new staff.

EMD says the 4,500bhp SP70ACS locomotives have been especially developed to cope with the harsh desert environment.

Construction of the railway project began in 2006 and is part of the Saudi government’s $384bn plan to develop its education, housing and transportation sectors.

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