Saudi Binladin Group and two other local firms, Al-Shoula Group and Al-Rajhi, are among the bidders for the second phase of the $7bn Haramain high-speed railway project linking Mecca and Medina, according to an official at the Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO).

The group lead by Al-Rajhi, called the Al-Rajhi Alliance, also includes France’s Alstom and the China Railway Company.

In total, five groups are expected to submit bids for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract by the 31 January deadline.

The official named the Badr consortium and Alsafwa consortium as the other groups, although it is not yet clear which companies are involved in these groups.

The successful bidder will work on the construction of the track as well as signalling, telecoms, electrification and an operational control centre. The contract also includes the procurement and maintenance of trains, and rail infrastructure for 12 years after completion.

Al-Rajhi Alliance is already carrying out the first package of phase one on the 440-kilometre line, which covers civil works.

Foster & Partners and Buro Happold, both of the UK, are currently working on package two of phase one, covering the design of four stations along the route.

The SRO expects to release tender documents for the construction of the stations by February.