The Riyadh Development Authority announced today that the contract to prepare preliminary plans for an electric rail network in the city of Riyadh has been awarded to the French consulting firm Semaly and the Middle East engineering firm ‘Dar Al-Handasah’. The study, which will last for 14 months, will assess the situation on the ground with respect to the social, economic and environmental impact of the project on the capital city as well as technical requirements in terms of locating suitable paths for installing the tracks.
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a major plan to increase its use of rail. In the works is a multibillion-dollar expansion program of the existing Riyadh-Dammam railway line, linking Jeddah and cutting transportation time for containers between Jeddah and Dammam by about one week as compared to sea shipment. Other planned extensions are from Dammam to the industrial city of Jubail via the Eastern Province’s international airport; and from Jeddah to Madinah, via Makkah, and on to the port of Yanbu, which will ease travel for millions of pilgrims.