German technical services provider TUV Rheinland has been awarded the contract as the independent competent person (ICP) for the monorail being built in Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).

The contract was awarded by the local Saudi Oger after TUV Rheinland beat off competition from UK companies Atkins and Interfleet.

The role involves ensuring the monorail is safe to operate. The ICP reports to the Saudi Railways Commission (SRC), and its assessment will form part of the SRC’s decision as to whether to grant the railway operating and safety licences.

TUV Rheinland has won similar contracts in Saudi Arabia, having worked on the Al-Mashaar metro project in Mecca in 2011.

Saudi Oger is the contractor responsible for the full turnkey construction of the monorail, after been awarded the contract by the Rayadah Investment Company in April 2010.

The project has run into several delays since then. Construction has been held up by about 12-18 months and the monorail will not be operational for another 39 months. The delay has partly been put down to technical civil works issues involving the construction of network that will run through a number of buildings.

The rail link will provide key transport connections within the KAFD development, which includes new office blocks, mosques, public spaces, hotels and a museum. 

In June 2010, KEO International Consultants were awarded the contract to design the 3.5km monorail route comprising elevated rail viaducts, switch bridges and 131 piers. In the same year, Canada’s Bombardier Transportation signed a contract with Saudi Oger to supply, install, operate and maintain the monorail system.

The contract covers the supply of six of its Innovia Monorail 300 trains, all fitted with driverless technology. The operation and maintenance services will cover an initial contract period of 10 years.