Saudi Arabia’s planned and unawarded rail schemes including the Saudi Landbridge, Mecca Metro and the urban rail projects in Jeddah, Medina and Dammam, will be utilising a public private partnership (PPP) model, according to Rumaih al-Rumaih, president, Public Transport Authority and Saudi Railways Organisation.

“Contracts for the Mecca Metro are being negotiated as a PPP,” Rumaih said in his keynote at the ongoing Middle East Rail conference in Dubai.

Four contracts for the Mecca Metro were due for award in early 2016. The award of the contracts was put on hold in line with the austerity measures of the government due to lower all prices.

Officials working on Mecca’s mass transit programme told MEED in early 2016 five contracts worth SR33bn ($8.8bn) for phase one of the project were due for award.

Four of the packages will be for lines B and C of the Mecca metro development and include 44 kilometres of track and 22 stations. The contracts will be civil 1 (tunnels), civil 2 (viaducts), systems and finishing, and rolling stock.

The fifth contract, for a bus system, has recently been awarded.

Rumaih did not disclose specific details of the project and if the negotiations are being conducted only with the low bidders of each of the metro package.

A consortium led by France’s Alstom is understood to have been selected for the systems and rolling stock package of the Mecca Metro.

A consortium comprising Spain’s Isolux Corsan, the local Haif Contracting and Turkey’s Kolin was selected as the preferred bidder for first civil works package line B and C of the Mecca Metro. The consortium offered SR9.95bn ($2.6bn) for the contract.

The Saudi Landbridge project, which has been on hold, is also going to be procured using PPP, Rumaih said. “The designs have been completed, we will be looking at private partnership in building and operating the Landbridge project.”