France’s Systra and US-based Aecom have won the contract to carry out feasibility studies for an internal railway network in Mecca.

The two firms will now determine how a railway network in Mecca can link with other regional railways serving Saudi Arabia’s holiest city. The local Balad Amine is the client on the project.

One of the biggest railway projects planned in the region is the $7bn Haramain high-speed railway network that will run between Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) has extended the submission deadline to 3 July for contractors to submit bids for work on phase two of the Haramain project.

Phase two involves construction of the track, signalling, telecommunications, electrification and building an operational control centre for the railway. Phase two also involves procurement and maintenance of the trains.

China Railway Corporation is also currently building a $1.8bn monorail to transport the millions of pilgrims that visit Mecca every year (MEED 11:2:09).

The monorail opened with a limited capacity for the hajj period in 2009.

The monorail will be fully functional for the hajj period in 2011 and will provide a mass transit system linking Mecca with the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.