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Hello,

Saudi Arabia is embarking in a huge expansion of it's railway infrastructure. This expansion comes in the form of three major railway projects, one public, the other two public-private. Below I'll give a brief outline of each project with a route map.

I hope you enjoy.

North South Railway (NSR)



This is a public project to build a heavy duty railway to serve the mining industry. It's funded by the Ministry of Finance and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). It's main focus is the transport of mineral ore from the mines of north (Bauxite from Zabirah, Phosphate from Jalamid and Basayta) to a new integrated mineral industrial city at Ras az Zawr on the gulf coast. It will also cater for general passenger and freight traffic with spurs going to Riyadh and also to the Jordanian border. In total, 2,400km of track will be laid, done in 4 phases:

Phase 1: 650km Ras az-Zawr - Zabirah
Phase 2: 782km Zabirah - Hail - Jouf - Jalamid
Phase 3: 530km Zabirah junction - Buraidah - Riyadh
Phase 4: 438km Spurs to Basayta and Haditha (border town)

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Saudi Landbridge



This is a 1,500km project to link Saudi Arabia's east and west coasts. The project entails the building of over 1000km of new track as well as the upgrade of current railway infrastructure. The main focus of the project is the transport of containerised freight, for either local consumption or more importantly trans-shipment. The project is expected to dramatically alter shipping patterns in the region. It will also offer a fast passenger service, linking Saudi Arabia's 3 main population centres (Jeddah-Riyadh-Dammam), with a specified operating speed of 220km/h. This project is offered as a BOT concession. Prequalification is complete, we're now at the RFP stage.

Mecca Medina Rail Link



This is a 450km high speed rail project. It links the holy cities of Mecca and Medina via the commercial port city of Jeddah (and also Rabigh). It is offered as a DBOT concession. 7 consortia have submitted for prequalification. The concession is technology neutral and there's no interlinking requirement in the specification, giving the opportunity for non steel rail technologies, such as Maglev.
 

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Very significant projects! What about the former link to Damascus ?
You mean the Hijaz railway. There was some talk of restoring a section of track ex-Medina to operate tourist rides, but nothing more.

Will the bauxite be processed in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, An Alumina refinery and an Aluminium smelter are under construction at Ras az-Zawr
 

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The SRO has announced the list of prequalified consortia for MMRL. The following have been issued with RFTPs:

1. Saudi Japanese Consortium: led by ACWA , Mitsubishi Heavy Industries , Al-Mohaidib and sons.
2. al-Rajhi alliance: led by MADA group , Bouygues Travaux Publics. , Alstom Transport
3. Saudi Binladin Group: led by Saudi Binladin , Deutsche Bahn , Siemens
4. OHL International: led by OHL , Consolidated Contractors Co. , Compania Auxiliar De Ferrocarriles
5. al-Shoula consortium: led by Vision Transportation Group, Patentes Talgo, Renfe
6. Saudi Oger consortium: Saudi Oger , al-Saif Engineering & Contracting , Ansaldo Transporti Sistemi Ferroviari

Full listing of consortia members here: http://www.saudirailexpansion.com/saudirailexpansion/slp/Pre-qualified Consortia for MMRL Project.pdf
 

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The Ottomans made a railway from Damascus to Mecca 100 years ago since then there has been no railway projects of significance in middleast apart from Tehran subway if u call it middleast.
 

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Agility eyes $10 bln Saudi rail project -report

DUBAI, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Kuwaiti logistics firm Agility and a group of Saudi and foreign firms submitted bids for a $10 billion Saudi railway project, the company's chairman said.

Chairman Tarek al-Sultan said the firm had bid in a consortium with U.S. firms KBR Inc , General Electric Co and Saudi Arabia's Al Rajhi Bank , Kuwaiti daily Al-Wasat reported, without naming the project.

An award will be made at the start of 2008, the paper said.

Four groups of Saudi and international firms are vying for the contract to build and operate a 1,100 km (683.5 mile) railway crossing the Saudi Arabian desert, after submitting bids in early November, the Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO) said on its Web site.

The so-called Saudi Landbridge project includes a 950 km line between capital Riyadh and the Red Sea port of Jeddah, as well as a 115 km link between the industrial city of Jubail and Dammam, the oil hub on the Gulf coast.

The Landbridge is one of the projects Saudi Arabia is using to tap a regional economic boom -- powered by a quadrupling of oil prices in the past six years -- to develop infrastructure, tourism and industry.

The Saudi Railways Organisation expects the winning bid to be less than $6 billion dollars, Mohammad Afzal Khan, advisor to the organisation's president, told Reuters in October.

Saudi Binladin Group heads a group including Japan's Mitsui & Co , India's Ircon International , Germany's Siemens , Deutsche Bank and Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL], according to the SRO.

Rajhi Investment is heading the group with Mada Company for Industrial & Commercial Investment. Other members include Canada's SNC-Lavalin and Saudi Arabia's Samba Financial Group .

The fourth consortium, led by Saudi family-owned business Al-Muhaidib & Sons, includes South Korea's Samsung Engineering & Construction and French bank BNP Paribas .

The Saudi Landbridge is one of several rail projects the kingdom is planning.

Six international groups are expected to submit proposals by January to build a high-speed link between Mecca and Medina, Khan said.

Swiss bank UBS and Saudi Arabia's National Commercial Bank are advising the Saudi Railways Organisation on this project and the Landbridge.

The Public Investment Fund is overseeing the construction of a 2,400 km north-south freight railway. (Writing by John Irish, editing by Will Waterman)
 

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TURKEY JOSTLES FOR MAKKAH-MADINAH HIGH SPEED TRAIN BID AMONG INDUSTRIAL
ANKARA, May 22 (NNN-KUNA) -- Turkey will join a bid as part of an industrial consortium on constructing a speedy train line between Makkah and Madinah, western of Saudi Arabia, at a cost of more than USD 1.5 billion, Turkish stated-owned Railways (TCDD) said here Friday.

The TCDD said in a statement it will join a consotrium including German Siemens Group, Saudi Bin laden Group (SBG) and the China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) in the open tender on setting up the Makkah-Madinah high speed train that is due to be announced on June 3, 2010.

The statement also said that the consortium will compete with other four consortiums in this tender which aims at establishing a high speed railway line at a cost of around USD 1.6 billion in order to transport the visitors of holy rites in Makkah and Madinah cities.

The Saudi authorities are keen, through this railway line, to reduce time of travel for pilgrims, lesser pilgrims and ordinary visitors of the two cities as well as expediting the transport traffic among the western Saudi areas as this 450-km line connects Makkah and Madinah through Jeddah that overlooks the Red Sea.

The winning bidder must establish the infrastructure that allows the operation of a train a speed of 320 km per hour along with constructing the signal and connection systems and an operational span of the line up to 12 years, according to the tender's provisions.

Further, it said that the industrial consortium concluded a previous agreement by its virtue the Turkish side will be responsible for operating the railway line, provided that Siemens undertakes the tasks of connections, signal and contact systems and providing the train cabins with the infrastructure and maintenance works assigned to both CREC and SBG.

Saudi Arabia expects that the construction works will be finalized following two years from now with the experimental run starting in the mid of 2012 and the official launching in November of the same year.
http://namnewsnetwork.org/v2/read.php?id=121141
 

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The bigger problem would be temperature differential.
40 degree C in day time and 10 degree in night is going to take it's toll on the rail.
 

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The bigger problem would be temperature differential.
40 degree C in day time and 10 degree in night is going to take it's toll on the rail.
Chinese construction company laid down the track, so we will soon find out how well it lasts under the heat.

BTW, the train set supplier listed in the article is Siemens and not China South Locomotive. If that's the case, then it's going to be a competitive bidding since Chinese bid won't cost less, if any, than rival French, Korean, and Italian bids.

Edit : Never mind, the Bin Laden consortium is still alive and this news is abut Turkey's participation in the Bin Laden consortium.

So Siemens' participating in two bids, in Bin Laden consortium as a train set and signaling equipment supplier and in Chinese Consortium was a signaling equipment supplier.

I wonder how Siemens managed to pull it off.
 

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I think the Chinese have experience building railway infrastructure in extreme conditions- they do have deserts in their country, as well as high altitude lines such as in Tibet. And after all, if China has experience building the best HSR track in the world, as some forum contributors are always quick to claim, what's there to worry??
 

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I think the Chinese have experience building railway infrastructure in extreme conditions- they do have deserts in their country, as well as high altitude lines such as in Tibet. And after all, if China has experience building the best HSR track in the world, as some forum contributors are always quick to claim, what's there to worry??
I believe it will be a tough environment whichever country may lay the tracks. The tracks baked under the sun will probably reach 50~80 degree C and will be cooled to 10~15 degree C when the sun goes down.
Steel tracks creeps under these extreme temperature differences unless they are held down firmly to the concrete. The quality of steel tracks also plays a role so it will be essential that the contractor does not skimp the quality to gain extra profit or it will completely ruin the reputation where no one will take PRC seriously in the future.
 

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There is no such a place in China to compare with the temperature conditions in Saudi Arabia (with HSR running at least), but I imagine that chinese engineers know what they do, its not that tricky.

It all depends on contract specs, what should be the estimated lifespan for this civil works?

The annual mean temperatures in the area is about 25-29ºC, just to compare with the hottest place in Spain, with a "milder" avg. annual temps of 21ºC hitting easely 47ºC in august , the HSL runs since 1992 with no major problems.. The use of additives in the concrete to improve strenght and conductivity such as polymers and retarders to avoid shrinkage are widely used and oviously impacts in the final performance and lifespan.

hey, that is why regular inspections are for right?:)
 
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