The cities of Riyadh and Dammam will soon be connected by a high-speed electric train that will run at a speed of up to 300 km per hour (kmph) compared to the current 140 kmph diesel-powered train, which was due to be increased to 160 kmph before the end of last year, according to the president of the Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO).
“The speed of the diesel-powered train will be increased further to 180 kmph next year, reducing the current travel time to three hours, which is the objective of the SRO,” said Dr Rumaih Mohamed Alrumaih.
“The service will be a replica of the Haramain high-speed train, and will go through Hofuf in its first phase with a goal to establish another electric line between Riyadh and Al Kharj.”
Alrumaih indicated that the passenger line from Hofuf to the capital was being enhanced, recognising that the current travel time between the two cities, estimated at about four hours, was due to non-duplication of the line, and the presence of level crossings, forcing trains to reduce their speed.
Regarding plans to depend on electric traction, he said: “The kingdom still has diesel trains while the rest of the world is using electric trains. So we have plans to go electric especially for the railway between Eastern Province and Riyadh, and Riyadh and Al Kharj.”
“Eight new electric locomotives have been recently put in service and they will be followed by four new ones in less than a month, with the aim to increase the speed of trains and reduce travel time.”
“We have a comprehensive expansion and development plan for the rail services that will be completed in 25 years.
“This will lead to the modernisation of the train system to provide quality services to the citizens and assist in the recovery of the country’s economy,” Alrumaih added.