Saudi Arabia unveils its USD 1.5bn railway project

Saudi Arabia unveils its USD 1.5bn railway project

Webuild has signed a contract worth USD 1.5 billion to design and construct 57 km of a high-speed railway in NEOM, along the northern Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.

Webuild and Shibh Al Jazira Contracting Company (SAJCO) are the two companies that make up the consortium. The contract, which is set to generate 4,000 direct and indirect jobs, covers the design and construction of most of the connector, a railroad linking Oxagon, NEOM’s center of excellence and clean manufacturing, with Line, the city of the future. The contract also covers viaducts, road bridges, road and rail underpasses to enable train speeds of up to 230 km/h. The joint venture agreement is split 70/30, where 70 percent remains with Webuild through the local subsidiary and Salini subsidiary in Saudi Arabia, and 30 percent with SAJCO. The companies will be responsible for the construction of two high-speed and two freight rail tracks, with Webuild leading the work. Having initially worked in Saudi Arabia in 1966 on hydraulic projects in Mecca, Jeddah and Riyadh, the Webuild Group has a long-standing presence in the region. Its portfolio includes over 70 healthcare centers, the Al Faisaliah District Redevelopment Project, the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh and Fisia Italimpianti’s construction of the Shuaibah III Expansion II IWP desalination plant, serving over one million residents in remote parts of Mecca and Taif.

The NEOM railway line will take 20 minutes from end to end. It will be built underground and controlled by the latest wireless control and security technologies. Used for passenger traffic between the two terminals, it will span 170 km.

NEOM, one of Saudi Arabia’s major giga-projects, is renowned for its ambitious regional development called THE LINE, which was announced in 2021. This sustainable urban living blueprint aims to create a 170-km-long city without traditional roads or cars, accommodating up to nine million people within a compact 34-sqm area. NEOM’s vision includes 100 percent clean energy utilization through solar, wind and green, hydrogen-based sources.

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Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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