For such a vast country, Saudi Arabia has amazingly little railway infrastructure. At present, there is a short line running between Riyadh and Dammam via Hofuf (yellow on the map below). This is actually two lines, one for passengers and one for freight. There’s a high speed rail line under construction to link Mecca and Madinah, via Jeddah and Rabigh (red) as well as the North-South line, also under construction, that runs across the north of the country, primarily used for hauling mineral freight between the Gulf, Riyadh, and Jordan (green). Now, Arab News reports, the Cabinet has given the go ahead for the Land Bridge, a line that will link the Red Sea and the Gulf. Essentially, this is a new line connecting Jeddah with Riyadh and Dammam with the industrial city of Jubail (dark blue).
Cabinet flags off east-west railway
P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: The Council of Ministers on Monday took a landmark decision to implement a land bridge project that would link the Kingdom’s east with its west with a railway line, bringing about a dramatic change in the region’s transport system.
The project, which will be financed by the state-owned Public Investment Fund, involves the construction of 950 km of a new line between Riyadh and Jeddah and another 115 km track between Dammam and Jubail and expansion of the current Riyadh-Dammam Railway.
“The Cabinet adopted a number of measures regarding the land bridge project as its implementation will be the same as the North-South Railway and the Haramain High-Speed Railway, with the Public Investment Fund financing the project’s infrastructure,” Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said while explaining the Cabinet decision.