Spanish firms reach deal with Saudi Arabia over Makkah-Medina rail link

Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) CEO Muhammad Al-Suwaiket and Spanish Ambassador to the Kingdom Joaquin Perez at the launch of four new push-pull passenger trains at Dammam passenger train station. (Saudi Gazette)

A Spanish consortium which is building a high-speed rail link between Makkah and Medina has reached a preliminary deal with Saudi Arabia to finalize the works after a series of delays and setbacks, Spain’s public works ministry said on Friday.

The Al Shoula consortium comprising 12 Spanish companies including OHL and Indra as well as two Saudi firms had become embroiled in a dispute over payments with the Saudi government.

The consortium’s contract to construct and maintain the Haramain railway is valued at 6.7 billion euros ($7.11 billion).

“This preliminary deal resolves the problems that arose on both sides during the process, clearing the way for the works to be finalized,” the Spanish government said in a statement.

The Saudi government still has to ratify the agreement, a spokesman for the consortium said, but it would extend the construction period until March 2018, 14 months later than originally planned.

Under the agreement the state-owned Saudi Railways Organization is to pay the consortium 150 million euros in compensation for additional costs on the project.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:59 - GMT 10:59