Haramain High Speed Rail


The Government has taken a decision to implement a railway project linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah. The HHR will be a high speed electrified passenger line, primarily designed to provide a fast, comfortable, reliable and safe mode of transport. The overall objective of the Government is to implement the HHR project as a public funded project.

The important features of the Project given below are based on preliminary estimations and aresubject to revision on more detailed analysis and design:


- The HHR will be a high speed (360 km/h design speed) electrified        passenger double line between Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah.

- Makkah Central Station near the 3rd Ring Road.

- Jeddah Central Station will be located on the Haramain Road, the railway  alignment will use the median of the Haramain road and the Station in KAIA  will be a terminus station.

- Madinah will have only one passenger station.

- Station will also be required in the King Abdullah Economic City and a  station may be required for the Hajj Terminal at Jeddah Airport.

- The design, construction, operation, maintenance of HHR shall be executed in two phases.


Changing the implementation way of the project:


An approval was issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques that the project will be financed through the specialized funds. Then the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (43) Dated 17/2/1431 was issued to state that the state owned Public Investment Fund (PIF) will conclude and finance service and work contracts for Al Haramain High Speed Rail Project on the basis of

interest-free loans from the financial resources of the Fund. The PIF will be compensated for this service through budget allocations in the coming years.

Importance of the project:

Haramain High Speed Project is considered an urgent need at the present time for several reasons, the foremost of these reasons is the growing number of pilgrims year after year, as well as the Umrah performers, visitors and residents who come to Makkah and Madinah throughout the year particularly during the seasons and holidays.


The impacts and benefits of the project:


Alleviating the pressure and congestion on the roads between Makkah and Medina as well as Jeddah Governorate.

The Comfort, safety and speed provided by the train.

Reducing the pollution caused by vehicle exhausts.


Components of the project:


Establishment of a 450-km electric-rail track connecting Makkah, Madinah via Jeddah and the trains will be equipped with latest signaling and communications system.

Provide the safest mode of high-speed rails with the latest techniques, in addition to the other equipments that combine the necessary, entertainment and fun.

Construction of five-passenger stations in each of Central Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and King Abdullah Economic City inRabigh (KEAC).

Maintenance and operation of the project and providing an additional capacity to the meet the demand growth over the period of the operation.


Management of HHR in Du Al Hajja 1430, Scott Wilson Company has won a SR 89.8 million contract for the management of HHR for period of (55) months. The Company work is to manage HHR project and provide administrative consultative services, manpower and materials needed, preparation and completion of work.


Construction Supervision of HHR


HHR construction supervision works contract awarded to Dar Al-Handasa

Consultants (Shair and Partners) in joint  venture with Spanish Company Getinsa with a value of SR 360 million.


The Land Bridge Project:


This is a 950 Kilometers-long railway line for the cargo and passengers which aims at connecting the red sea with the Arabian Gulf and to serve the movement of shipping containers transport either to the domestic markets or heading to the markets of Gulf Countries. It consists of two lines, the first starts from Jeddah Islamic Port and ended in Riyadh while the second is connecting Al - Jubail Industrial City, one of the most important industrial centers in the Kingdom and Gulf, with the rest of the network.


The Importance of the Project:


The project is considered one of the largest projects to be implemented as BOT Concessions (build, operate, and transfer) basis and will have a significant impact on the routes of transport in the region due to the characteristic strategic and geographical location of the Kingdom. It also represents a unique opportunity for companies that have train techniques, the contractors of civil and mechanical works, and investors to contribute in the execution of the project that will have a great impact on the movement of transport, economic and social development.

The Land bridge Project is among the largest projects to be executed in the region on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis. It will have a major impact on the transport potential, as it will enable freight of cargo imported from East Asian countries markets in general via King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, and from Europe and North America via Jeddah Islamic Port, thereby attracting more transit cargo and realizing savings in regional freight economy. The number of handled containers is estimated to be in 2015 to be in excess of 700,000 standard containers. That is to say, over 8 million tons of freight cargo will be distributed in the Kingdom and neighboring countries. As regards passenger transport, we expect the (Riyadh-Jeddah-Makkah), and the (JeddahRiyadh), and the (Jeddah-Dammam) lines to serve several million passengers every year.


The project Objects


This huge project which represents one of the most important elements in the expansion program adopted by the supreme Economic Council in the kingdom (the project through which the existing SRO assets and the personnel will be transferred to the private sector) aims at:

- Linking the main ports of the Kingdom in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and  Jubail with a very developed railways network which participates to the benefits from the advantages of rail transport and to be generalized throughout the Kingdom.

- Providing fast, safe and reliable service to ship the excessive  containers  destined for both the domestic market, or to the markets of the Gulf States. The volume of what will be transferred on this line estimated to be about 8 million tons of containers.


The Transport Expectations


In 2015, the number of transportable containers on the land bridge expected to reach 700 thousand containers with an increase of more than 100%. This means that the number of daily journeys will be about 16 trips daily.


Works stages


1. The approval for the project track and the method of government support:

On the 29th of Shawal 1427, (November, 2006), the Saudi's council of ministers adopted a land mark resolution by with respect to the land bridge. The council announced that the Government will provide financial support for the project. The government has fixed the volume of financial support as a standard for the competition among the world consortia eligible to win the project where the government will grant its support after the compliance of the requirement adopted and required for the completion of the project and achieving it in an integrated way. The government also approved a 50 year concession duration and the transfer of SRO`s assets to the concessionaire as well as the provision of all land required for operation of the Railway at no cost.The resolution further announced the establishment of SARREC, Saudi Arabia Rail Regulatory Commission as an independent commission to supervise the railway transport sector and the transfer of the existing railway network which is currently operated by SRO and the transfer of the staff of the SRO to the successful investor according to the procedures proposed.


2. The Establishment of the Saudi Land bridge Company


The Saudi Arabia council of ministers has passed a decree authorizing the establishment of the Saudi Land bridge Company to assume the construction, development, operation, and maintenance of the railway that will connect the east of the kingdom with the west as well as operating the existing network which connects the centre of the kingdom with the eastern province. The Company's capital will be within SR 5 billion. The decree stipulated that the government's share  - represented in the Public investment Fund will be 20%, while the remaining share of 80% will be for the successful consortium of the project. It is expected to practice its functions after identifying the successful consortium to implement the project soon.


3. Approval for the qualification of four consortia for implementation of the project


The Supreme Economic Council agreed for the qualification of four Saudi investment international consortia to bid for the land bridge project. These consortia are:

- Agility Logistics Consortium

- MADA consortium

- Bin laden Saudi consortium

- Tarabot consortium

These four consortia include a large number of contractors and specialized companies in the industry and operating the activities of railways as well as top of Saudi investor seniors.

At the end of the last year, nine investment consortiums submitted their bidding documents for the qualification to implement the project but four consortiums were only selected.


4. Approval for inviting bids


The resolution of the privatization committee in the Supreme Economic Council was issued recently regarding the bidding documents for the land bridge project. This step was followed by the handing over of the bid documents to the four qualified consortia on Saturday 11/4/1428 AH corresponding 28/4/2007.These four consortia were given a period of six months to prepare the technical and financial bids for the implementation and operation of the project on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 50 years.

This move is one of the most important steps in the preparation procedures for the execution of the project, where the SRO and the project advisors in different specialties -financial, technical and legal- made great efforts to reach a final formulation covering all legal, financial and technical aspects adequate with the way in which the project will be implemented (BOT). It also included all of the terms and conditions that must be adhered by all parties.


5. Completion of the financial bids study of the competing consortia.


SRO recently completed the study of the final financial bids for the qualified competing consortia on the implementation of the project; the Advisory Team has scrutinized these bids on two phases. The first phase was for determination of responsiveness to bidding documents and conditions required while the second one was for analyzing the bids in accordance with a clear and transparent standard to ensure the compatibility of the bid with the conditions contained in the bidding documents and the absence of requests for variations or requirements which are inconsistent with these conditions. Accordingly, it was recommended to choose the preferred bidder and reserve bidder then the announcement of the successful bidder, who will execute the project and to operate the existing network after the transferring property, equipment, and the staff of the SRO, will be named.


The North – South line


Starting in the northwestern region of the Kingdom, this line passes through Al-Jouf, Hail and Al-Qassim regions and terminates in Riyadh with extensions to Hazm Al-Jalamid to haul phosphate, and to Al-Zubayrah to haul bauxite, and to Ras Al-Zour on the Gulf where a major port

will be constructed to export these and other mineral ores. In order that the Saudi Council of Ministers adopted the resolution of the incorporation of the Saudi Railways Company (SAR) in 1426 which shall be in charge of the management and operation of the North- south rail as well as the services and relevant utilities, operation and management and supervision, directly or through others in accordance with economics operating standards and according to standards of performance and safety. The company shall also undertake the establishment, implementation, management, operation and supervision of the railways projects in addition to the transport of

mining materials, raw materials, fuel, cargo and passengers.

Also the company's capital is estimated to be one billion Saudi Riyals divided into 100 million shares of equal value where the nominal value is ten riyals per share. The extraordinary General Assembly may, however, to put all shares of the company or part of them for subscription.


Gulf Cooperation Council Railway Project


The idea of establishing a railway network to link the GCC six countries (kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Kuwait) emerged in 2000. The experts believe that such a network would increase the level of trade exchange between the countries of the region, alleviate traffic congestion and reduce pollution. It is expected that this network will be the core of the network project connecting all cities of the Middle East. Countries in the region have realized the need for an initiative to cover the region as a whole, prompting them in 1999 to adopt a development plan for an integrated transport system in the Western Asian under the auspices of the United Nations - Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) This initiative formed the way to study the economic feasibility for a railway line linking the Member States of the Gulf Cooperation Council for the Arab Gulf States.

It is expected that the total length of the network will be about 2000 km starting from the Iraq Kuwait border and up to Oman passing through Qatar, Saudi Arabia, in parallel to the coast of the Arabian Gulf. Studies indicate that there is expected growth in figures of transporting the goods by train after the implementation of the Gulf railway network, it is expected that the transfer of an estimated 31 million tons of goods by train in 2016 which will be 17 million tons of heavy raw materials, and 4.1 million tons of goods imported by Some of the GCC countries from outside.

The following table shows the level of transport imported by all modes of transportation in the years 2004-2006, compared with the expected to be only transferred by train in 2016.


Projects Under Study


The Project of Southern lines Saudi Railways Organization recently entered into a contract with an engineering Consultancy firm to conduct a feasibility study of establishing railways in the southern region, the study will include the number of passengers and transport volumes expected on these

lines as well as cost estimates.

The engineering consultancy firm has concluded the first phase of the study, which included the suggestion of several alternatives to the route of the lines, taking into account the necessary design criteria for of these lines, slants, and curves, which must not be ignored in the implementation of the project, and these lines, are:


-         Taif - Khamis Mushayt -Abha Line


This line links Al-Taif with the land bridge on one side and Abha and Khamis Mushayt, on the other side. The length of this line is 706 km. Studies have shown that the number of passengers expected in 2012 on this line will be between 726,000 to 1.276.000 passengers and between 1.251.000 to 2.200.000 passengers in the year of 2025.In 2012, It is expected for this line to convey what is estimated between 514,000 to 743,000 tons, and 1.035.000 and 1.500.000 tons in 2025.


-         Jeddah and Jizan Line


This line is 660 Km connects Jizan region with the city of Jeddah. Studies have indicated that the number of passengers in 2012 on this line will be between 884,000 to 1.134.000 passengers. In 2025, it is expected to reach between 1.525.000 to 1.956.000 passengers.

The rising economic growth promotes the importance of this line for Jizan region. As expected share of railway transport in the area is estimated at 5.5% annually, based on the amount of cargo on the same track in 2012 which is expected to be between 1.210.000 to 1.583.000 tons, while in

2025, the anticipated figure is between 2,438 .000 and 3.191.000 tons. Studies have identified the track of this line to be parallel to the coastal public road, which serves several major roads as well as Jizan economic region.


-         Yanbu -Jeddah Line


The construction of a railway line between Jeddah and Yanbu is expected to contribute in linking the areas of the Kingdom with each other where this line will be connected with the land bridge linked with the rest of the railway network. A recent study for Yanbu free trade zone has shown that linking Yanbu with the land bridge will participate directly in the development of Yanbu City and King Abdullah Economic City in addition to the expected financial revenues that make it economically profitable project.

This line will serve primarily the industrial movement. At present, the petrochemical products are transferred from the industrial city of Yanbu via a key road to the city of Jeddah to be exported through Jeddah Islamic seaport where 15,500 tons per day transferred across  the land road by using trucks to a distance of 350 km, the quantities of transport is expected to increase.

In 2005 the number of containers (size of 20 feet)  - used for the transport of petrochemical products produced by the Yanbu Industrial City and nearby cities- to about 179,000 containers, while this number is expected to grow up to 281,000 TEUs in 2015


source: Saudi Arabian Railway