Saudi's Haramain Railway to cost $11.1bn, says SRO

High-speed project will be capable of lifting 20m people a year.


Saudi Arabia's Haramain Railway, which will link the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah with Jeddah, will cost about SR42bn ($11.1bn), according to a report by the Saudi Railway Organisation.

The high-speed rail project will be capable of accommodating 20 million passengers per year and will provide a "speedy and secure" transport for pilgrims, said the SRO report, cited by Arab News on Friday.

The 450km Makkah-Madinah Rail Link is part of the major railway expansion project, which includes linking Jeddah with the Riyadh-Dammam Railway and North-South Railway systems, the paper added.

A source told the paper that work on the Haramain Railway was progressing well with the government completing acquisition of land required for building rail tracks and stations.

“A number of bridges are under construction for the passage of the rail track,” he added.

The railway is likely to transport at least three million Haj and Umrah pilgrims annually initially, with the Haj Ministry forecasting the number of pilgrims would cross 20 million within the next 25 years.

A number of contracts have been signed to implement the project.

A consortium led by Al-Rajhi Group won the main contract of SR6.7bn for civil works. The Saudi Electricity Company has implemented a SR1.83bn contract to supply power to the project.

More than 33,000km of railway lines are planned to be built in the Middle East and North Africa with the region's mainline rail network set to almost double in size, a report said last month.

According to the Mena Rail Report 2011, metro, tram and monorail track lengths will also increase tenfold.

In all, there are plans to build more than 30,000km of mainline routes and more than 3,000km of metro, tram and monorail lines, according to the report by MEED Insight.

A review of rail projects across the Middle East, North Africa and the Levant showed there was more than $250bn of planned investment set out by governments and rail operators.

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