Saudi Arabia to Inaugurate Longest Rail by End of February
Asharq Al-Awsat, 17 February 2017
Dammam- By the end of February, Saudi Arabia will start operating the longest rail in the country that will link Riyadh with Al-Hudaitha entry point on the Saudi-Jordanian borders.
The Saudi Railway Company (SAR), owner and contractor of the project, is set to inaugurate the new train line on 26 February and will kick off the first trip after completing all required preparations to transport passengers through the North train.
SAR, owned by the Public Investment Fund and the investment arm of the Saudi Ministry of Finance, is a national company specialized in implementing and managing rail projects. It has worked on massive railway projects worth over SAR21 billion (USD5.6 billion). Today, the company plans to integrate and link all train projects in Saudi Arabia, along with establishing a railway infrastructure that links all the Saudi cities and regions.
SAR has kicked off the trial operation of the passenger train in 2015 and tested the trains in thousand kilometers trips. The north train passes by six passenger stations, starting from Riyadh and ending in Qurayyat.
Passengers from the center and north of the country will have the chance to use SAR’s train and to travel to new destinations in Saudi Arabia. Minister of Transport and President of SAR Board of Directors Suleiman bin Abdullah Al-Hamdan expected this inauguration to bring major positive outcomes, as it would enhance the safety level and reduce rates of traffic accidents, along with the support of public transport means in the Kingdom.
He added that the completion of SAR’s current project and its operation will promote the life quality in cities, as it will represent an economic engine to support investments out of the main cities and will provide safe and secure transportation means.
Hamdan said the train will support the country’s plans and the Kingdom’s vision 2030 in developing small and medium cities, by moving many industrial projects out of the main regions, to reach a balanced development and to reduce burdens off cities.
The Minister stressed on the importance of promoting a culture of public transport to benefit from railway projects among different regions, along with metros inside the main cities.