Prequalifying on Riyadh-Medina rail link set to begin early next year

The rail line between the two cities will consist of 1,000km of double track with one each for passengers and cargo.

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A pre-qualification process for the long-delayed Riyadh to Medina rail link will start early next year, a project official said in Dubai on Tuesday.

“The pre-qualification bid will be between the first and the second quarter of next year,” said Bashar AlMalik, projects director at Saudi Railway Company. The rail between the two cities will extend 1,000 kilometres of double track — one for passengers and the other for cargo.

The rapid growth of the logistics sector in the region has spurred investment in railways, with major projects also planned in Oman and the UAE.

The initial budget for the project was 20 billion Saudi riyals (Dh19.57bn), however Mr AlMalik said that the budget could be revised. “Of course this budget was allocated around 10 years ago ... this budget will definitely be changed, but we cannot update until the design is completed, ” he said.

“We are planning to start the construction very soon, as soon as the detailed design is completed,” he added, declining to give a specific date for the commencement ofbuilding work. Construction of the project will take about four years from the start date.

However, one hurdle for the project is land appropriation.

“The land issue is one of the challenges that we face when we start execution. The process is lengthy and in many cases the owners don’t accept the compensation,” Mr AlMalik said.

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