A contract award is still pending on the project to install signalling and wireless communication systems along the existing Riyadh-Dammam freight and passenger railway lines. Three consortia bid for the estimated $150 million-180 million contract, which is due to be awarded in February (MEED 17:12:04).

The study and the upgrade are part of a comprehensive network expansion programme that will involve bringing on board private concessionaires and abolishing the state monopoly in the railway sector. SRO is preparing to launch prequalification for the landbridge project after a meeting with potential bidders and investors scheduled for 31 January in London.

The prequalification process will be followed in the second half of the year by the award of the concession to a private consortium, which could include construction and rail operating companies, equipment suppliers, shipping lines, financial institutions and other interested investors (MEED 27:2:04).