From El País, details on the largest Spanish overseas contract so far after a Spanish consortium, in which Saudi companies are also involved, has been awarded the project of building a high-speed line (High-Speed Railway) that will connect the cities of Medina, Jeddah and Mecca in Saudi Arabia,
“with a budget of 6.736 million of euros, as reported by the Saudi Railways Organization on its website.
” The Ministry of Public Works has stressed that it is the largest international contract managed by Spanish companies.”
The Spanish-Saudi consortium Al Shoul Group is participated by the public companies ADIF, RENFE, Ineco (that depend from the Ministry of Development), Indra, OHL, Consultrans, Copasa, Imathia, Cobra, Dimetronic, Inabensa and Talgo as well as the Saudi companies, Al Shoul and Al Rosan.
Talgo will be responsible for providing the trains. The Spanish companies control 88% of the consortium and the local Saudi partners, the remaining 12%.
The project is considered to be urgent and a priority for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, because the 450 km of electrified double track will serve the pilgrims (the number is growing each year) that make their journey between Mecca and Medina, as well as the visitors and residents from both cities.
“This is a global project that includes everything from building the online platform, about 450 km in length, to the installation of its superstructure (signals, electrification, telecommunications and security), 35 high speed trains designed for speeds of over 300 km per hour (and the option to purchase 23 additional trains during the operation) and the subsequent maintenance of the trains and the line for 12 years.
The project includes the double track high-speed electrified railway designed for speeds of 320 kilometers per hour, which will allow the travel time between Mecca and Medina to be reduced to less than two hours and 30 minutes, according to the Ministry of Public Works.
“The trains, which will be based on Renfe’s 102 and 112 series, will each accommodate more than 450 passengers; they will serve a daily demand of 166,000 travelers, which equates to a potential demand of more than 60 million passengers per year. The service at peak times will have a demand of between 11,000 and 13,000 passengers per hour.
And it is already known as the ‘AVE of the desert’ or ‘AVE of the pilgrims’ (AVE being the Spanish for HSR).