Saudi Arabia will kick-start operations on the country’s longest railway, running 2,750-km between capital Riyadh and the northern city of Gurayat, on December 24 2017.
Majority of the work on the SAR10bn ($2.66bn) project has been completed, including the construction of the support buildings along the length and breadth of the railway, besides the main control and operation centre, 179 communication towers and signals, control systems, communication systems at stations and maintenance buildings, as reported by The Saudi Gazette.
Deemed to be one of the world’s longest railway lines, it will pass through Majmaa, Qassim, Hail, and Al-Jouf regions of the kingdom. Six railway stations are in the pipeline, each spread over 137,217 sqm, with a floor each for arrivals, departures, and baggage collection, stated a senior Saudi Railway Company (SAR) official.
The official added that there will be zones for shops and restaurants, tourism service offices, and rent-a-car services. Parking facilities at each station will be able to accommodate 500 vehicles. As for the railway facility itself, two trains will be operating during the daytime and overnight. The daytime train will have a length of 280 m, comprising of two engines and nine coaches, including three for business class passengers and four for economy class passengers. Dedicated coaches have been allocated for restaurant and baggage. The train will be capable of carrying 444 passengers, running at a speed of 200 km/hour.
The overnight train, on the other hand, will be 383 m long, and will have 13 coaches, including three for economy class, one for business class, three sleeping coaches, four coaches to transport cars, and one coach each for fast food and baggage. It will accommodate 377 passengers, and run at a speed of 160 km/hour, stated the official.
He added: “With the launch of this railway line, the dreams of people living in the kingdom’s northern regions will come true as the travel distance between Gurayat and Riyadh is now shortened from 13 to eight hours.”