No delay in Haramain Train project: Minister
There is no delay in the execution of the Haramain Train project and work is currently progressing according to the schedule, Transport Minister Abdullah Al-Muqbel said on Monday.
“All major works embodied in the contracts with the executing companies will be completed by the end of 2016 and the test runs will be conducted the same year,” he told reporter in an exclusive interview.
“There is no any slackness in the execution as some people may think. We have asked the contractors to increase their human and technical resources to avoid any possible delay,” he said.
Al-Muqbel said because of the magnitude of the project especially the sections to be executed in Jeddah and Makkah, people tend to think that there may be some sort of delay in its completion.
Heavy traffic on the roads of the two cities, the Umrah and Haj seasons, the giant works consisting of bridges and concrete crossings may help give the people the impression that the project is going on slowly, he said.
“This is not true. We are working diligently to complete the giant project on time,” he added.
Al-Muqbel said the mega project will further boost the wheel of the economic and social development in the Kingdom and will achieve prosperity for citizens and expatriates.
Before the train is finally introduced, a number of test runs will be conducted under various weather conditions, he said.
The project consists of 35 fast electric trains built to suit various weather conditions in areas on its route.
He said the cost of project is about SR67billion. The amount will be spent on basic infrastructure works, electricity, signals and imports of the locomotives and cars.
“The project is estimated to earn a revenue of about SR46billion in the first 12 years constituting about 75 percent of the total cost. This makes the project a good investment,” he said.
The minister said the contracts signed with the Spanish consortium of companies to implement the second phase of the project will make them responsible for the operation and maintenance of the trains for 12 years after their introduction.
He said a plan was made to Saudize the jobs in the project by a ratio of nine percent every year. “We have so far trained about 25 Saudi train drivers and technicians,” he said.