The Consortium of Spanish and Saudi companies, the Al Shoula Group, tenderer of the second phase of the high speed project between Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, has received authorisation from the Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) to initiate work in that country. This notification means the first step in the effective completion of advanced payment by the SRO, which entails 10% of the construction phase of the superstructure.
Among these conditions is the provision of the bonds and guarantees necessary for the project’s start-up. The issuance of these guarantees has underlined the support of the financial system for Spanish companies and for one of the sectors with the greatest potential for internationalisation in the Spanish economy.
Developments in the project
- The progress made these past months by the Consortium has enabled the definitive securing of the contract for Spanish industry, the complexity and scope of the project placing Spanish high speed at the head of state-of-the-art railway engineering.
- Prominent among the project’s significant developments: the creation of the company in charge of the development of the project in Saudi Arabia, which is to be called the Saudi Spain Train Project Company Limited (SSTPC).
- Progress has been made in the location of the registered office that will share premises with the SRO in Jeddah.
The Mecca-Jeddah-Medina High Speed Line
The Mecca-Jeddah-Medina-Medina High Speed Line, with 450 kilometres of twin electrified track, has an overall budget of 12 billion, of which 6,736 million Euros are allocated to the second phase awarded to the Hispano-Saudi Consortium.
This project is the most important of its kind to be undertaken outside a European country and is the largest international contract to be attained by Spanish companies.
This second phase includes the design and construction of the railway superstructure and installations (electrification, signalling, communications, etc.), the supply of 35 high speed trains designed for speeds of over 300 km/h as well as the option for the purchase of another 20 trains during the period of operation, the maintenance of said rolling stock and the running and maintenance of the line for a period of 12 years.
The high speed line is projected with the parameters of a European high speed line in mind, with a designed speed of 320 km/h, and a journey time of under two and a half hours between the cities of Mecca and Medina.
The maximum operating speed will be 300 km/h, with twin track of UIC gauge, electrification of 25 kW 60 Hz, and the implementation of the European level 2 ERTMS system, in which Spain is one of the world’s leaders. Thus, one of the world’s safest high speed railways will be constructed, with the latest in railway technologies which, along with the most modern equipment, will allow for a service of maximum safety and quality.
The estimated demand for the line is very high, around 160,000 passengers a day. To attend to them, three intermediary stops are being considered at the stations of Jeddah Central, Jeddah International Airport and King Abdullah Economic City, to which one must add the head stations of Mecca Central and Medina Central.
In addition to a significant investment, the project will transform transport habits in Saudi Arabia, offering new travel options to the millions of pilgrims who visit the holy cities in the west of the country every year.