A 1,418-km (887 mile) passenger railway project linking north Saudi Arabia with its capital Riyadh will be commissioned on a trial basis in early 2015, newspapers in the oil-rich Gulf Kingdom reported.
A large part of the project has been completed and it cost nearly SAR10 billion (Dh9.6 billion), they said, quoting a statement by the Saudi railways company (Sar), which is overseeing a massive rail plan across the largest Arab economy.
The line will link Riyadh with Haditha near the northern Saudi border with Jordan while it will meet up with a rail link between Riyadh and the eastern port of Dammam. This project will also pave the way for the implementation of a regional rail network linking Saudi Arabia with its five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“The north-west passenger train will be operated on a trial basis in early 2015. The contractors are currently working on completing the rail as well as the passenger stations, and logistic and maintenance services,” Al Madina Arabic language daily said, citing a Sar statement at a show in Riyadh on Saturday.
Newspapers said the passenger service is part of an integrated SAR20-billion (Dh19.5 billion) rail project which also involves transfer of cargo, including phosphate and other products from northern industrial areas under development.
Saudi Arabia, which has the largest area in the Arab region, has been locked in a USD multi-billion programme to construct metro and rail ways through its territory, aided by a sharp rise in its oil export earnings.