Abu Dhabi: The Saudi Railways Organisation is planning on a double-line for sending goods between Dammam and Riyadh, and raise passenger capacity by about 60 per cent, according to media reports.
The SRO has secured eight luxury and fast passenger trains, each of which consists of five compartments and two locomotives, with more than 2,000 seats. The target is to transport more than 5,000 passengers per day, between Dammam and Riyadh.
The operator is also working to complete the double-line track to reduce trip time for passenger trains.
Saudi Arabia is on track to develop its rail networks as part of a GCC-wide push to ramp up regional transportation, with the high-speed Haramain railway now operating at near-full capacity. Riyadh’s Metro is almost complete, and another 800 kilometres of track, along with sleeping coaches, will be added to the Kingdom’s North-South railway.
Adding to the lines
Transportation has been classified as a key driver of the economic renaissance forming its Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia’s first rail line, between Riyadh and Dammam, opened in 1951.
The Haramain High Speed Railway was launched in 2018 by King Salman as a high-tech 450 kilometre-line connecting five stations between Madinah and Makkah and operating at 300km/hour.
Saudi’s North-South Line, which opened in 2017, added another 800 kilometres from the Al Jawf region to Riyadh in November, introducing night trains with sleeping coaches as well — a first for the country.
Riyadh’s metro construction is also well under way, with plans by Riyadh Development Authority to start staged operations. Spanning 176 kilometres and serving 85 stations across six lines, the compartments are being tested.
There are plans to add more lines to the railway in the future, with a connection between Yanbar Industrial City and King Abdullah Port by the Red Sea, as well as a 1,150 kilometre-land bridge linking the Kingdom’s east coast to its west coast.
The GCC rail project within Saudi Arabia will cover 628 kilometres and connect the country to Bahrain. More than 200 kilometres of that is being worked on.
Across the GCC, the rate of mobility between citizens and residents alike has been on the rise, from 4.5 million in 2003 to an astounding 27 million in 2017. Trade also grew drastically from $6 billion in 2003 to $133 billion in 2017.
In the UAE, 160 kilometres of railway has been built so far, starting from Al Ruwais. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have so far completed the project design.