Saudi Arabia: 7 trains to go between Makkah, Jeddah per hour

20/11/2014 (Al Arabya - UAE): The high-speed Haramain Railway will run seven trains between Makkah and Jeddah in one hour.The Haramain train will link the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and Rabigh.There will be two trains between Makkah and Madinah and four trains between Makkah and Rabigh in a day, and the railway will transport a total of 19,600 passengers in an hour. This was announced by Mohammed Al-Suwaiket, president of the Saudi Railway Organization (SRO).He made the remarks on Wednesday while addressing a meeting on “Haramain Railway: A development project,” organized by the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Rusaifah railway station, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Morocco: High Speed Train Delayed Till 2017

04/11/2014 (Morocco World News - Morocco): The TGV was originally scheduled to be finished in 2015, but it was recently postponed to late 2016. The delay does not stop there: it is now being reported that it will not be effective by even 2017.According to Telquel, unexpected difficulties involving o land expropriation procedures are causing the delay. The program has already gone over its MAD 25 billion budget, which was meant to last the entire project.The Moroccan government is a strong advocate of the TGV. The government sees the project as an important step on the path to modernity. On the contrary, the movement “Stop TGV” heavily criticizes the project, and believes that the TGV budget might be better spent building thousands of schools and hospitals and buildings more highways.The French company Alstom, in charge of implementing the project, will only provide the TGV trains once it has received the money in advance. The company is enacting this policy because it did not receive all of its money after collaborating with Casa Tramway. Besides these difficulties, the TGV project budget is being strained by landowners who seek to be better compensated.

Rising Railway Investments In Middle East Yielding Big Business To Many European Rail Equipment Companies

12/11/2014 (International Business Times - USA): Thanks to the mammoth railway expansion in the Middle East, a big market opportunity has opened up for leading railway equipment makers in Europe and Asia. Rough estimates suggest that the ongoing railway projects in the Middle East and North Africa are worth $300 billion. There is big action at the railway front in Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arbia, Oman and Bahrain, which are the main countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, is building its prestigious Doha Metro project.Khaleej Times report notes that the Middle East's under-construction railway projects are about 33,700 km in mainline routes and 3,000 km in new metro lines. The bulk of the investment for railway in the Middle East and North Africa are for high-speed rail network, including the one in Morocco. Oman is executing its first ever rail scheme with billions of dollars going into rail and metro projects.

Algeria: New Railway Lines to Spur Economic Growth in Ouargla

19/11/2014 (All Africa - SA): Ouargla — Transport Minister Amar Ghoul announced Tuesday in Ouargla that new railway lines are planned to spur economic growth in the province."The three railway lines planned in the region will give an impetus to the dynamics of economic development in the region," the Minister said during his one day working visit to this southern province.The railway lines link Ouargla and Laghouat via Ghardaia, which will connect the region of Hassi Messaoud in Algeria, Touggourt and Ouargla towards El Oued, Tebessa and Souk Ahras before reaching the ports of Annaba, Skikda and Jijel.The third line links Touggourt and Ouargla towards Constantine, Ghoul.This railway network, which Ouargla is the intersection, will give new impetus to economic activities in the south of the country and ease the pressure on the road network, he said.

Egypt’s old railway system overdue for renovation

23/11/2014 (Al Arabya News - UAE): Egypt urgently needs 41 billion pounds ($5.7 billion) in order to develop 700 outdated carriages and 21 tractor units, the country’s minister of transportation told local media Saturday.Minister Hany Dahy told sate-run news agency MENA the government was currently negotiating with Chinese, Hungarian and Spanish companies to carry the development process.Some 212 air conditioned carriages are expected to be received soon, Dahy said. The Transportation Ministry did not comment on the funding source.Egypt’s Railway Authority saw its revenues drop 34 percent in 2013 due to repeated suspensions in its operations as a result of security reasons.Around 1.4 million passengers use the railway on a daily basis in Egypt.Deficiencies in the ailing system had resulted in several accidents in 2013, increasing the number of fatalities to 781, which marks a 74 percent rise from 2012, according to a report by the state-run statistics agency CAPMAS.

Cairo-Zagazig trains resume following 5-hour delay

22/11/2014 (Al Ahram Online - Egypt): The train lines linking Cairo and Zagazig in the Nile Delta have resumed on Saturday following a 5-hour halt, Ahram Arabic website reported.The delay earlier was attributed to one of the rails was reported broken according to the head of the Railway Authority Samir Nawar.Egypt has been struggling with a rundown railway system for years, even though it transports around 500 million passengers annually (1.4 million per day), according to government figures.There have been several deadly train accidents in the country over the past two decades, including a train and school bus crash in November 2012 that killed at least 50 people.The government has pledged to renovate the railway system. However, no clear systematic plan has been put into effect.

Trains running again in Upper Egypt after earlier derailment

10/11/2014 (Ahram Online - Egypt): Railway movement has resumed in Upper Egypt following a three-hour halt due to a carriage derailment in Minya, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.The stoppage led to a three-hour delay for 13 scheduled trains.Earlier in the day, a carriage on a train headed from Cairo to Sohag derailed while passing through Minya, said Rashad Abdel-Aaty, vice president of Egypt's Railway Authority, as reported by Al-Ahram.No injuries were reported.The railway official also said that authorities visited the site to lift the carriage and investigate the causes of the incident.Egypt has been struggling with a rundown railway system for years, even though it transports around 500 million passengers annually (1.4 million per day), according to government figures

Europe cashing in on Middle East railway projects

 13/11/2014 (Nikkei Asian Review - Japan):  DUBAI -- The Middle East is going on a railway-building spree, and the world's biggest makers want in. Railway car and facility providers from Europe, which have strong historical ties with the Middle East, are leading the race to capitalize on the boom. Chinese makers are also gradually gaining ground in the region. Japanese companies continue to lag.At stake are contracts related to mammoth railway projects in the Middle East and North Africa estimated to total $300 billion. International interestQatar, which is to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will soon select contractors for the Doha Metro project. Consisting of four lines, the metro will cover the Greater Doha area and play a central role in efforts to develop an urban transport network ahead of the sporting event.

Competition for Middle East railway projects heats up

16/11/2014 (Want China Times): Investments in urban and intercity railway projects in Middle East countries are estimated to be around US$300 billion, our Chinese-language sister newspaper Want Daily reports.Among those bidding for construction contracts, French and German firms fare better than those from China and Japan. The French global-based rail transportation company Alstom and Germany's Siemens are the two main construction consortia competing for a metro project in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.European businesses hold more advantages in obtaining equipment and vehicles in the Middle East. Many transportation projects were led by European construction and consulting companies from scratch.Chinese businesses are catching up with competitive prices and their expansions in scale, however. Trains of Etihad Rail, the national railway network of the United Arab Emirates, are manufactured by the Chinese CSR Group. The Mecca Metro light rail transit in Saudi Arabia is also being undertaken by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC)

Russia Eyes Chinese Cash for $150 Billion Moscow-Beijing High-Speed Railway

21/11/2014 (The Moscow Times - Russia): A planned high-speed railway stretching some 7,000 kilometers between Moscow and Beijing will cost about 7 trillion rubles ($153 billion) to build, a Russian Railways executive was quoted as saying Friday.Over half of the sum, or 4 trillion rubles ($87.5 billion), is expected to come from Chinese investors, said Alexander Misharin, who heads Russian Railways' subsidiary High-Speed Rail Lines, news agency TASS reported.Russia and China signed a memorandum of cooperation on the development of a high-speed rail network in mid-October that included construction of a high-speed rail line from Moscow to Beijing.Trains are expected to hurtle along the new line at an average speed of 400 kilometers per hour, cutting the travel time between the two cities from the current six or more days to about 33 hours.A high-speed link between Moscow and Kazan, almost 800 kilometers to the east, is intended as the first section of the continent-spanning new railroad. But it is not clear who will foot the 1 trillion ruble ($21 billion) bill for the project.