New 180 kmph train to link Riyadh and Dammam
Four new passenger trains will join the current fleet between Riyadh and Dammam beginning November this year.
Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) President Mohammed Al-Suwaiket said the Riyadh-Al-Kharj rail service would be commissioned during next year.
The first of the four trains is to arrive in the Kingdom toward the end of November and the others would follow a month after, said Al-Suwaiket.
The trains are being manufactured in Spain by CAF, a leading global rolling stock manufacturer. The train, which will arrive shortly, is being given the final touches by the manufacturer.
The high-speed train, which would run at a velocity of 180 kmph, will be initially deployed between Riyadh and Dammam. Subsequently, the trains will be used from Dammam to Al-Ahsa and Riyadh to Al-Ahsa.
The new trains will be an improved version of the previous locomotives, and have increased passenger capacity, luggage facility. They could run up to 180 kmph even during extreme weather.
“Rail transport is a vital support to growth and development in any country,” said Al-Suwaiket.
“While the Saudi economy is the largest in the Middle East and one of the 25 largest worldwide, the Kingdom is experiencing significant development in the railway sector,” said the SRO chief.
“SRO is working very hard to provide the best services within the current operational structure. However, the government, realizing the value rail transport adds to national development, launched a number of initiatives to bring this vital service on par with the developmental needs of the country,” he said.
These initiatives include major expansion projects to connect the Western Region with the Eastern Region, the Northern with the Central, and to link the holy places as well as the Kingdom with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states,” he said.
The new initiatives also include moving toward privatizing SRO and opening the door for national and foreign investments in it to bolster its ability to support national development, Al-Suwaiket said.
The SRO has drawn up a master plan in cooperation with the German International Cooperation (GIZ).
The Saudi Railway Master Plan 2010-2040 (SRMP) is to have a conceptual framework in place for the longterm development of a future passenger and freight transport network for Saudi Arabia.