Gulf train designs to be ready by year-end, says official

The blueprints and technical designs of the Gulf train linking all the six members of the GCC will be ready by the end of the year

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The blueprints and technical designs of the Gulf train linking all the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will be ready by the end of the current year, according to Mohammed Khaled Al-Suwaiket, president of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO).

He told a meeting organized by the Saudi Society of Civil Engineering on Tuesday that the Kingdom will implement its part of the project in 2016 by constructing the rail roads from Al-Batha in Riyadh in the south to Al-Khafji in the north.

Suwaiket said Qatar will be linked to the project through Salwa crossing point and King Hamad bridge.

He said the United Arab Emirates and Oman have already started constructing their parts of the project while other countries were still to join.

Suwaiket said all the civil work and the stations of the Haramain Express Train will be entirely completed by the end of 2016.

“We are conducting tests runs at present between Madinah and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh,” he said.

This will be followed by the commercial operation of the train between Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Rabigh.

Suwaiket said the train will cross the distance between Madinah and KAEC in 60 minutes while the direct travel time between Makkah and Madinah will be two hours.

He said the SRO is currently working on a plan to expand the railway network to link all the Kingdom’s regions from the north to the south and from the east to west.

Suwaiket said a new train of a speed of 300km/h will be operated soon between Riyadh and Dammam to replace the existing trains.

“The single-lane railway line which is 300-km long between Hofuf and Riyadh will be made into two lanes,” he said.

Bassam Ghulman, director of the Haramain Express Tain, said the price of the tickets will be decided according to the distance the train will have to cross.

“The price per km between Makkah and Madinah will be 33 halalas for the tourist compartment and second class while it will be 50 halalas for the first class,” he said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on November 5, 2015.