Saudi Arabia tests rail link from Riyadh to border
Saudi Railway Company completes high-speed north-south link aimed at cutting travel times for material exports
The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) has conducted the first trial rail journey on the newly constructed high-speed line between Riyadh and the city of Majmaah, which covers a distance of approximately 200km and is the final link in the north-south line between the Saudi capital and the country’s northern border.
The critical link now ties the rest of the high-speed line together with the lateral rail routes running from the western region and Yanbu to Dammam and Ras al Khair in the east and should expedite the flow of goods from both industrial hubs to the northern border.
The departure of the maiden train journey was attended by Dr Rumaih Al Rumaih, CEO of SAR, who commented on the success of the collaboration between SAR and the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden).
In September, a record 787,000 tonnes of metals were transported by rail – the highest volume since the transfer of metals by rail began in 2011. A further 434,000 tonnes of phosphate and 353,000 tonnes of bauxite were transferred during the period.
The completion of the north-south line should further raise these volumes, particularly due to the shortening of travel times for these materials from both western and eastern industrial hubs bound for export via the country’s northern border.
Dr Rumaih added that the collaboration with Maaden to develop infrastructure for the transport of metals by rail has not only contributed to the strengthening of the metal industry in the Kingdom, but yielded significant secondary benefits.
Rail transport has decreased the country’s dependence on trucks and reduced diesel consumption in the metal segment by 70%, benefitting both the environment and improving safety by reducing the number of accidents on the roads.
SAR is owned by the Public Investment Fund and was established in 2006 with the aim of implementing and operating rail networks to link together all the regions in the Kingdom.