|The Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) is working up a strategic plan worth over $97bn (SR365bn) to create an integrated network with 19 lines that would criss-cross the Kingdom.|
According to Arab News, the SRO's president Muhammad Al-Suwaiket said that it is planning a 9,900km network that could link many ofthe country's provinces under a plan to be delivered by the year 2040.
"The organisation seeks to maintain passenger safety and build a good reputation by implementing plans over the next 20 years to cover all major cities of the Kingdom," he said.
There are already some elements of an operational network in the Kingdom, including a rail line running from Riyadh through to Dammam, while the delayed Haramain High-Speed Rail network is due to begin operations next year. It will run from Makkah to Madinah through Jeddah Airport and the new King Abdullah Economic City.
Italferr was also appointed in August last year to design the Jeddah Landbridge project. It will link Jeddah to Riyadh, and extend the link from Riyadh via Dammam onto Jubail in the Eastern Province.
Al-Suwaikat said it would also work on improving the performance of existing lines between Dammam and Al-Ahsa.
"We will review and redesign training programs for operating trains with the help of international, specialised institutions," he said.