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A unit of the new highspeed train built by Spanish manufacturer Talgo is loaded onto a freighter in

A unit of the new highspeed train built by Spanish manufacturer Talgo is loaded onto a freighter in



Saudi rail link to open in March 2018

01 December 2016

A delayed high-speed railway linking Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia, which will benefit 166,000 passengers per day, will finally open in March 2018, said a report, citing the Al Shoula consortium which is building the project.

The rail network linking the holiest cities was initially scheduled to open by year end but the date for its completion was moved to the end of 2017, according to AFP. Now the Spanish consortium says partial operations on the high-speed rail project will begin in December and full operations is set to start in March 2018, stated the report.

Saudi Arabia had awarded the contract worth €6.7 billion ($7.1 billion) in 2011 to the consortium of 12 Spanish companies and two Saudi firms for the high-profile project, which included laying of 444 km of track between Makkah and Madinah, providing 35 trains and maintaining the line for 12 years.

The leading firms in the consortium - Spain’s rail company Renfe, train maker Talgo, and state track operator Adif - have extensive experience with the country’s own high-speed network.

Saudi authorities have agreed to pay an extra SR600 million ($160 million) to compensate additional costs of the project due to the delay, the report added.




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