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Saudi Arabian Railways (SAR) is planning two major projects to increase its freight capacity.
The first scheme, estimated to be worth SR4.2bn ($1.1bn), involves the installation of a second track to the North Train Freight Line and the construction of three new freight yards.
Formerly known as the North-South Railway, the North Train is a 1,550 kilometre-long freight line running from the phosphate and bauxite mines in the far north of the kingdom to the Al-Baithah junction, where it then diverges into a line southward to Riyadh, and a second line running east to downstream fertiliser production and alumina refining facilities at Ras al-Khair on the Gulf coast.
Adding a second track and the freight yards will considerably increase cargo carrying capacity on the network and enable and facilitate the development of increased industrial production. Project implementation is expected to take four years.
The second, smaller project covers the construction of a new freight yard and freight line connecting Dammam’s second industrial city with the existing 556km-long Dammam-Riyadh railway, officially known as the East Train Network. The three-year project has an estimated value of about SR720m.
State-owned SAR is also looking at increased localisation of railway-focused materials and equipment, including constructing a cement sleeper manufacturing facility.
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