Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) has awarded two local consortiums the construction contracts for package two of phase one of the $7bn Haramain high-speed railway in Saudi Arabia.

Package two involves the design and construction of four stations in Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City (Kaec). A joint venture of the UK’s Foster and Partners and Buro Happold has completed the designs for the stations.

Saudi Binladin Group with Turkey’s Yapi Merkezi has won the contract to build passenger stations at Mecca and Medina, while Saudi Oger has won the contract to build the stations at Jeddah and Kaec.

Just three consortiums passed the technical evaluation in August 2010 (MEED 26:8:10). The third group was the Freyssinet Saudi Arabia consortium.

The Haramain high-speed railway will be financed through the government’s Public Investment Fund to speed up development. Work involves the construction of a 450-kilometre electric rail track that will greatly reduce congestion on the roads between Mecca and Medina, especially during the annual hajj.

The UK’s Scott Wilson is providing administrative consultative services to assist the SRO in developing the tenders and evaluating the offers.

On 3 July 2010, the SRO received two bids for work on phase two of the railway from the local Al-Shoula Group and Al-Rajhi Holding Group with France’s Alstom.

Phase two involves construction of the track, signalling, telecommunications, electrification and building an operational control centre for the railway. Phase two also involves procurement and maintenance of the trains.