The president of the Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO), Mohammed Al-Suwaiket, was in Los Angeles, California, this week, to take part in the US-Saudi Business Forum and discuss the mega projects included in the railway expansion project.
The so-called Saudi Railway Master Plan spans from 2010 to 2040 and Al- Suwaiket was on hand to explain the main objectives for the kingdom’s long-term development of a passenger and freight transport network.
He also discussed the Haramain High Speed Rail Project, due to link Mecca, Medina and Jeddah. The 450-kilometre line will be served by 300km/hour electric trains and is being installed in conjunction with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah, who wishes to provide better services for pilgrims during the Haj and Umrah seasons.
“We are monitoring the works of contractors in different locations by conducting field inspections and checking on their reports,” Al-Suwaiket told reporters last month.
“The new 450-kilometre line is expected to carry approximately 160,000 people per day and even more during the Haj pilgrimage season. They will be transported on a fleet of 35 new high-speed trains.”
It was also announced yesterday that consultancy firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, has scored a deal to manage the 950-kilometre rail link between Jeddah and Riyadh. Th Balfour Beatty subsidiary conducted the original planning work in 1997.
The new line will exist primarily as a freight route, set to improve cargo transport efficiency, but will eventually be used to carry passengers. The contract is reported to last eight years and ties in management consultant firm, Fluor Corporation.
During the LA event, he added that upcoming projects would include a ‘GCC train project’, a north-south train project by Saudi Railways Company and the Landbridge and light train projects in the kingdom’s main cities.
Earlier this week, he held a meeting with train drivers and railway supervisors after a spate of accidents. Discussions comprised operational steps and meeting the laid procedures to curb future incidents, which included strict accountability and varying penalties tied to the size of the damage.
The measures were approved by civil service regulations, which sanctioned a rewards system and staff disciplinary body.
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