Saudi Arabia – North-South Railway

Saudi Arabia – North-South Railway

The North-South Railway project involves running passenger and freight services on a 2,400 km line that crosses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from north to south. The line will be used to ferry passengers, freight as well as bauxite and phosphate.

To meet the requirements of all three service operations, the network comprises 6 passenger stations, 8 inter-modal and 3 mining terminals. Passenger stations have been designed rather like airport concourses with luggage check-in areas.

Starting in Dammam on the Persian Gulf and the capital Riyadh, the line runs right across the country to the border with Jordan to the north, where the desert-like conditions make operations particularly difficult. Very high embankments (of up to 90 m) were required to cross the dunes of the Nafud Desert.

SYSTRA Group teams worked on this highly challenging project for over 13 years. As the joint venture’s lead consultant, SYSTRA and its subsidiaries CANARAIL and Scott Lister, worked on every project phase from design through to works supervision.

The first mining trains were commissioned early 2013 and the line was opened to passenger services early 2017.

SYSTRA’s role

As the lead consultant in an international joint venture, SYSTRA started by conducting feasibility studies before producing detailed construction designs and supervising construction work through to ETCS dynamic testing to approve signalling designs.

SYSTRA was specifically responsible for rolling stock:

  • defining technical specifications
  • producing tender documents
  • evaluating tender bids
  • factory acceptance testing
  • site acceptance testing
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