First passenger trains on the North-South Railway in Saudi Arabia
3 March 2017

First passenger trains on the North-South Railway in Saudi Arabia

On Sunday 26-Feb 2017, at 10am local time, the first passenger train in commercial service left Riyadh Station to Qassim. It is the outcome of more than 13 years of deep involvement for the Group’s teams in the field and in the technical directions, with a strong participation of CANARAIL.

More than 13 years of work

This important milestone for SAR (Saudi Railway Company) was also the outcome of more than 13 years of close work for SYSTRA and its subsidiary CANARAIL, as leaders of an international JV in charge of the feasibility and detailed design of the railway (2004-2006) then of the supervision of its implementation (since 2006).

At the peak of the project, the JV employed up to 300 staff to supervise the works, attributed to 12 different contractors.

In the last weeks, CANARAIL and SYSTRA experts worked hand in hand on the ground to ensure that the passenger trains would be ready on time. Scott Lister was also mobilized for the ETCS (European Train Control System) dynamic tests (on board units for signaling).

A project delivered with CANARAIL’s expertise

Within the JV, CANARAIL was more specifically in charge of the procurement of the complete Rolling Stock (locomotives and various types of freight wagons and coaches, as well as Maintenance of Way Equipment).

The scope covered Technical Specifications and Tender Documents, Bid evaluation, Supervision of manufacturing (FAT : Factory Acceptance Test / SAT : Site Acceptance Test), as well as Commissioning assistance.

A 2400 mixed railway line

The North South Railway Project is a 2400 km railway transporting passengers, general freight and bauxite/phosphate across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mineral trains have been in service since early 2013.

The network includes 6 passenger stations, 8 inter-modal terminals and 3 mining terminals. The line crosses some very harsh environment, which required for instance embankments of up to 90 meters to cross the dunes of An Nafud desert.

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