Saudi Gazette – The cities of Riyadh and Dammam will soon be connected by high-speed electric trains that will run at a speed of up to 300 kilometers an hour, the president of the Saudi Railways Organization has said.
Speaking to the Dammam-based Alsharq newspaper on Sunday, Mohammed Al-Suwaiket said the service will be a replica of the Haramain high-speed train between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
Suwaiket said the current diesel-powered train’s speed is 140 km/h, which will be increased to 160 km/h before the end of this year.
“The speed will further be increased to 180 km/h next year, reducing the current travel time of 4 hours, 20 minutes to 3 hours, which is the objective we are aiming for,” he said.
Suwaiket said an electric rail will also be established between Riyadh and Kharj.
He said the Kingdom still has diesel trains while the rest of the world is using electric trains. “We have plans to go electric especially for the railway between Damamm and Riyadh,” he said.
The president said eight new electric locomotives have been recently put in service and they will be followed by four new ones in less than a month.
“We have a comprehensive expansion and development plan for the rail services that will be completed by 2040,” he said.
Suwaiket said by that year the trains will transport all goods currently transported by trucks, including oil and gas.
He said in collaboration with the Education Ministry, the SRO has sent about 1,000 students abroad to study courses related to the railways.
“These students are not part of the Scholarship Program of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” he explained.
Speaking about the Haramain train, Suwaiket said it will create more than 3,000 job opportunities, of which 70 percent will be occupied by Saudis.
“The train will have a speed of 300 km/h on a 480 km-long railway and will cross the distance between Jeddah and Makkah in 25 minutes and between Jeddah and Madinah in 2 hours,” he said.