Work on the much-awaited Haramain High Speed Rail project from King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh to holy city of Madinah is in progress. Installation of train tracks has begun as part of the second phase of the work, according to Saudi Railway Organization (SRO) Chairman Mohammed Khaled Al-Suwaiket.
Speaking to Arab News on Monday, he said that the 450-kilometer high speed electrified train with a maximum speed of 300 km per hour is a challenging task.
“SRO is experiencing some obstacles in the Makkah-Jeddah sector, thus delaying the project in this particular stretch, however from King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh to Madinah there are no problems and work is progressing satisfactorily.”
He categorically stated that Jeddah central station is expected to be completed by the end of 2014 but it will be operational only later.”
Haramain High Speed Rail will be operated through electricity whereas existing rail service between Riyadh and Dammam is being operated with diesel locomotives.
Head of SRO added: “The Kingdom will soon start the work on its part of this GCC rail link; Saudi Arabia will build 663 km rail link for the GCC.”
The GCC rail link will have an estimated total length of 2,177 km.
Earlier, Al-Suwaiket told a group of journalists that Haramain High Speed Rail second phase project includes building and maintenance of trains, where a Spanish company is awarded the project.
The Spanish company with the support of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology will establish specialized training center in order to train Saudi graduates and help in the development of this promising railway industry in the Kingdom. This also takes into account the expected operating density and the flow of train traffic, especially during the Haj and Umrah seasons, which requires the development of high quality technical specifications to ensure the safety and speed of operation of railway.
He said that Haramain High Speed Rail project require some 3,098 employees where over 70 percent will be Saudi nationals.
The second phase includes construction of railway tracks, installation of signaling and telecommunication systems, electrification, operational control center, the procurement of train sets and the operation and maintenance for a period of 12 years.