SAR to debut growth plans for Saudi Arabian railway sector at InnoTrans 2022

Posted: 15 September 2022 | | No comments yet

At InnoTrans 2022, Saudi Arabia Railways will detail its ambitious growth plans for its passenger and freight railway business over the next five years.

An SAR freight train

Credit: SAR

Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) will participate in InnoTrans 2022, giving the organisation the opportunity to introduce the international railway community to its current plans for the state-of-the-art passenger and freight railway network in Saudi Arabia. The national rail operator aims to substantially expand its existing network over the next five-seven years and seeks to connect with potential partners to join this journey.

SAR intends to push ahead with the expansion of Saudi rail infrastructure from currently around 5,000km to a total length of more than 8,000km, including the multi-billion-dollar flagship “Land Bridge” project. This project will span more than 1,300km from East to West, connecting the Kingdom’s ports from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea for the first time, and allow for an annual capacity of over three million passengers and 50 million tonnes of freight.

Thanks to SAR, Saudi Arabia is positioning itself as a leading innovator for rail technology in the region and a major driver of rail network expansion worldwide. Already, infrastructure and rail engineering projects set in motion by SAR have yielded significant achievements, such as the Haramain High-Speed Railway which operates the tenth fastest high-speed electric passenger train worldwide. Similar accomplishments in freight technology allowed for the use of one of the longest trains in the world at 3km in length. These successes are enabled by a state-of-the-art railway network with one of the longest rail lines employing the high-level digital train control system ETCS L2.

A locomotive on the Haramain high-speed railway

A locomotive on the Haramain high-speed railway – Credit: SAR

At InnoTrans 2022, SAR aims to announce various partnerships in the areas of know-how transfer as well as state-of-the-art rail technology. Furthermore, SAR will provide interested investors and rail operators an overview of upcoming investment opportunities related to the expansion projects, including tenders for locomotives, wagons, and wheels. Additionally, SAR is seeking to cooperate on establishing manufacturing plants for passenger and freight trains, train wheels, wagons, railway sleepers and rails. Future manufacturing partnerships will also include a plant for packaging and winding traction motors.

“We aspire to build an integrated and highly developed railway system and strengthen our sector in line with Vision 2030,” Dr. Bashar Khalid Al Malik, CEO of Saudi Arabian Railways Company, said. “As one of three pillars, we will provide the facilities and collaborative groundwork necessary to play our role in establishing the Kingdom as a hub for connecting continents and leverage our strength as a centre for investment.”

With Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans to diversify its economy. The transportation and logistics sectors are crucial enablers and the backbone of this goal. The National Transportation and Logistics Strategy therefore aims to transform the country into a leading logistical hub for the entire region over the coming years.

To ensure progress, the railway sector has received a lot of attention and seen substantial consolidation and re-organisation over the past few years, with SAR becoming the single most relevant corporation overlooking all operational activities of the railway sector and driving its transformation.