It’s full steam ahead on the railways in Saudi!
The recent Middle East Rail exhibition delivered a number of long-awaited announcements regarding the expansion of the rail network not only in Saudi but also the broader GCC region.
Although there remain a lot of questions, it does seem that there is now some momentum beginning to build and the prospect of tenders for freight and passenger services between Riyadh and Dammam as well as the Land Bridge is great news.
We are now one step closer to a high speed passenger service between Riyadh and the Eastern Province which, with the new causeway, could see a Eurostar style service running between Riyadh and the capital of Bahrain, Manamah.
Discussions of the Land Bridge are also very interesting and, again, hopefully this momentum will carry through to the start of the 1000km new railway linking Jeddah and Riyadh in the near future.
The Land Bridge, of course, is a key infrastructural component of the plan to radically expand the scope and scale of shipping coming through the port of Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
There was also an announcement concerning the implementation of the long-planned GCC rail network and it appears that a commitment of 2021 has been made to connect the networks in the UAE and the Kingdom.