Saudi Landbridge tender expected soon

14 March 2018
Italian/local team completed design of the Saudi Landbridge railway in 2017

The tender for Saudi Landbridge, the planned railway line linking Jeddah on the Red Sea with the capital Riyadh, could be released soon, according to Khalid Alsultan, acting vice-president for infrastructure at Saudi Railway Company (SAR).

The executive said the Landbridge project, along with the railway line linking the existing Riyadh-Damman network with the North-South Railway, is at a more advanced stage compared with the rest of the four schemes that were earlier nominated by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) for public-private partnership (PPP) development.

Italian engineering design firm Italferr and its local partner Arabian Consulting Engineering Centre (ACEC) completed the design for the Saudi Landbridge project last year.

In addition to the 960 kilometre line linking the Jeddah ports on the Red Sea with Riyadh, the design includes an option to extend the line from Jeddah to Dammam and Jubail.

The scope of the design undertaken by Itaferr and ACEC include:

  • identifying the corridor
  • designing the railway line, permanent way material and all the civil engineering structures, stations, installations for train loading/unloading and container handling operations,
  • identifying the signalling (ERTMS level 2 system) and telecommunications systems
  • development of all the activities relating to environmental impact
  • obtaining project approval

MEED earlier reported that the PTA, acting on behalf of SAR and Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO), expects to tender the four schemes, including the electrification of the Riyadh-Dammam line and a new line linking Yanbu and Jeddah, in the second or third quarter of 2018.

Details about the planned tenders first emerged at a consultation meeting with consultants, operators, investors and developers held in Riyadh in October last year.

The four projects and their details are:

ProjectLength (km)ConfigurationCapex ($bn)StatusPeriod (Project development timeline and start of operations), years
Saudi Landbridge950Double, non-electrified7-10Preliminary design8-10
Riyadh-Dammam Electrification460Double, electrified8-10Feasibility study9-10
Yanbu – Jeddah (via King Abdullah Port) link340Double, non-electrified0.5-1.5Feasibility study4-5
Riyadh-Riyadh link and new Dry Port~40Double, non-electrified0.9 – 1.4Preliminary design4-5

Source: PTA

US consultancy AT Kearney is advising PTA on the privatisation of Saudi Arabia’s mainline railway networks.

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