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Phase 1 of Haramain railway project 45% complete

High-speed line linking Makkah and Madinah set for 2015 completion

A computer-generated image of Jeddah station on the new Haramain high-speed railway line
A computer-generated image of Jeddah station on the new Haramain high-speed railway line

Phase 1 of the Haramain high-speed railway project linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah is 45% complete, according to an offical working on the project.

The project’s first phase involves all civil works related to the building of the railway including preparation of the ground, construction of bridges, culverts and tunnels for the laying of the track.

Al Rajhi Alliance, which is a consortium of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), Al Arrab Contracting Company Ltd, and Al Suwailem Company, are carrying out the first phase works.

Speaking to Construction Week, the official said, “The completion percentage of the contractor is 45% approximately as per the latest schedule and the completion date is 31st December 2014.

“The design of the whole 450km alignment is almost 99.5% completed and approved. We have about 150 bridges, almost 130 already concluded and submitted to the contractor, with another 20 bridges under design.

“These bridges are not yet finished because the interchanges where we need to construct those bridges were [only] recently approved by the client,” he added.

The project has been divided up into six sections or “areas”: Area1 starts in Makkah and runs to the 70km mark; Area 2 runs from 70km to 100km; Area 3 from 100km to 185km; Area 4 from 185km to 285km; Area 5 up to 350km; and Area 6 to the end of the 450km track in Madinah.

The railway, which is expected to run trains with a top speed of 360km/h, will have stations at Makkah, one central station at Jeddah City with another station at King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, and Madinah in the Knowledge City area.

“The original cost was $1.8bn (SAR6.8bn), said the official, "but two months ago the Ministry of Finance approved another evaluation order of about $1bn (SAR 3.9bn).”

“The contractor is now working on another variation, which is about $400m (SAR 1.5bn),” he added.

In late May, the Phase 2 contractor for the project, Saudi-Spanish consortium Al-Shoula Group, walked 10km of the track as part of an inspection, which resulted in their approval for the handover of the track and will see their mobilization in June.

The Phase 2 Saudi-Spanish consortium includes Talgo, Renfe, Adif, Copasa, Imathia, Consultrans, Ineco, Cobra, Indra, Dimetronic, Inabensa, OHL, AL-Shoula and Al-Rosan.

Phase 2 of the Makkah-Madinah project will see the remaining infrastructure work on the line which includes construction of the track, signaling, power, electrification and telecommunications and is expected to be complete by  the end of 2015.

It also requires procurement of rolling stock and operations and maintenance for a period of 12 years after completion.

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