Kingdom’s longest railway to become operational in Dec.

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The north-south railway during a trial run. — File photo



By Basheer Alzuwaimel

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

HAIL
— One of the world’s longest railway lines will be launched in the Kingdom on Dec. 24, realizing the dream of more than two million people. The 2,750-km railway line linking Riyadh with the northern city of Gurayat is being built at a cost of SR10 billion.

“It realized the dream of people living in the Kingdom’s northern regions,” said an official of Saudi Railway Company (SAR).

The train originates from Riyadh and passes through Majmaa, Qassim, Hail, Al-Jouf and ends in Gurayat. Two trains will be operating in the daytime and overnight.

The new railway will reduce the travel distance between Gurayat and Riyadh from 13 to eight hours.

The train that operates in the day will have a length of 280 meters. It comprises two engines and nine coaches including three for business class passengers and four for economy class passengers. One coach each has been allocated for restaurant and baggage.

“This train can carry 444 passengers and will run at a speed of 200 km/hour,” the official said.

The night train with a length of 383 meters will have 13 coaches including three for economy class, one for business class, three sleeping coaches, four coaches to transport cars, one coach each for fast food and baggage. It will accommodate 377 passengers and run at a speed of 160 km/hour.

There are six railway stations. Each station is spread over an area of 137,217 sq. meters with three floors: One for arrivals and another for departures while the third is for baggage collection.

There are zones for shops and restaurants, tourism service offices and rent-a-car service.

Parking facilities at each station can accommodate 500 vehicles.

Support buildings have also been constructed along the length and breadth of the railway including the main control and operation center, 179 communication towers and signals, control systems, communication systems at stations and maintenance buildings.

The SAR announcement came after an experimental operation of the 2,750-km railway considered to be one of the longest railway lines in the world to transport goods, passengers and minerals.

“Several trial runs have been conducted during the past year to make sure that the railway is safe,” the official said.


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