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Saudi Kingdom railways history, from the idea of “Aramco” to “SAR”

The Kingdom railways history, from the idea of "Aramco" to "SAR"

The idea of ​​establishing a railway in the Saudi Kingdom was launched in the mid-1940s when the need arose at that time to establish a commercial port on the Gulf coast to transport imported goods on their way to the warehouses of the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco).


The idea put forward by Aramco to build a railway from Dammam to Riyadh included the establishment of a large commercial port that could receive huge ships transporting oil industry supplies and equipment; In addition, this port will have great benefits for the national economy.


When the matter was presented to King Abdulaziz Al Saud, he ordered the implementation of the entire project to reach the capital, Riyadh, to start implementing the project on (October 21, 1947).


On (October 20, 1951 AD), the line was inaugurated in Riyadh in an official ceremony attended by King Abdulaziz, King Saud bin Abdulaziz and a large crowd of officials.


Since that time, the railway has been working under the supervision of Aramco for some time, until it was associated with the Ministry of Finance, and was named the Railway Authority.


On May 13, 1966, a royal decree was issued approving the founding system of the General Corporation for Railways.


Under this decree, the railway was transformed into a public institution with a legal personality, managed by a board of directors, and whose general policies are drawn up according to commercial bases.


When the imports of the port in Dammam increased in very large quantities after 1975; As a result, the roads between Dammam and Riyadh suffer from a severe congestion crisis. The idea of ​​establishing a dry port in Riyadh emerged.


Its aim was for the train to contribute to alleviating the congestion crisis by enabling goods importers in the Riyadh region to transport their goods on the train directly to Riyadh; Where it is cleared by customs and delivered to them there.


The dry port was inaugurated in Riyadh on Sunday 24 May 1981; where the number of containers imported to Riyadh through the dry port witnessed a large steady increase,


The demand for the services provided by the dry port increased as a result of the good service that customers perceived, its appropriate cost, speed of performance, and ease of procedures.


The volume of transport has increased several times since the start of operation of the dry port; In 1981, it reached 21,000 TEU in both directions; While it exceeded 318,000 TEUs in 1427


2006 was the launch of the establishment of the Public Investment Fund of the Saudi Railway Company (SAR). The Fund took over the management and operation of the railways, starting with the implementation and operation of the North Train project.

In February of the year 2021, the Council of Ministers issued a decision to abolish the General Corporation for Railways and its system; to be replaced by the Saudi Railways Company “SAR”.


 As of April 1, 2021, it changed its name to become the new “Saudi Railways – SAR”, and “SAR” became the owner of fixed and movable operational assets in addition to its ownership of the infrastructure of the Kingdom’s train projects for freight and passengers between cities.


SAR owns 3 main networks: the North, East, and Al Haramain Express networks, in addition to managing all operational operations of the Holy Sites Rail with a total length of more than 5,380 km.


 The railways serve five ports; two of them are in the city of Jubail, in addition to the King Abdulaziz port in Dammam, the dry port in Riyadh, the port of Ras Al-Khair, and two mines.


SAR’s networks include 15 passenger stations, 8 maintenance workshops, 15 maneuvering yards, operating 220 passenger and freight trains, and transporting more than 3 million passengers annually.


SAR was ranked as one of the best (3) railway companies in the Global Safety Index for Train Operators, issued by the International Federation of Railways (UIC) for the year 2019.


It also won the International Safety Award for the year 2020 for the second time in a row from the British Safety Council, in addition to obtaining the ISO 45001 certificate in the field of health and safety.


The Nordic train is the longest integrated line in the world that uses the advanced European signaling and communication system, Level 2 (ETCSL2), which is the best system for managing signals and traffic safely and reliably.


The northern train network occupies 2,750 km; Where the length of the passenger line on the northern train is 1,250 km, it starts from Riyadh towards Qurayyat, passing through Al-Majmaah, Al-Qassim, Hail, and Al-Jawf;


The northern freight train has a total length of 1.550 km, extending from Hazm Al-Jalamid, passing through Al-Jawf and Hail, all the way to the Al-Baathiyah intersection in Al-Qassim; From there, it heads towards the processing and export facilities in Ras Al-Khair in the Eastern Province.


The length of one train is more than 3.5 km with a capacity through which more than 60 million tons of minerals were transported (phosphates, bauxite, molten sulfur, phosphoric acid); This contributed to the removal of more than 4.5 million trucks from the roads.


The northern passenger train fleet includes six trains, divided into four-day trains and two-night trains. They are two-way trains consisting of 2 trailers and 8 passenger cars, with a train speed of 200 km per hour.


Two-way passenger trains consist of 2 trailers and 8 passenger cars; The fleet includes 4-day and 2-night trains.


The maximum capacity of one train is 442 seats; including business and economy degrees; As well as a full-service restaurant.


The eastern train operates on a dual passenger line of 733 km in length, linking Riyadh with Dammam via Al-Ahsa and Abqaiq, and the 550-kilometer Al Sharq freight line linking King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam with the dry port in Riyadh, passing through Al-Ahsa, Abqaiq, Al-Kharj, Haradh, and Al-Tadhiyah.


SAR operates 157 booths on the freight line; While the number of vehicles operating on this line is 5,577; Where the trains travel five trips per day, with an average capacity of 220 wagons per train, and a capacity that exceeded in 2020 735,000 containers.


The Orient train fleet consists of 22 trains; Including 12 modern train sets, and 10 classic sets that transport passengers between Riyadh and Dammam via Abqaiq and Hofuf, with a maximum speed of 180 km per hour.


The Haramain Train, which is one of the 10 fastest electric trains in the world, connects; Its speed is 300 km per hour, with lines of 449 km in length, between Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, passing through Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.


The Haramain Express train includes 35 trains, with a seating capacity of 417 passengers per train, and a speed of 300 km per hour.


The Al Mashaer Railway, which was established in 2009 and includes in its fleet 18 trains running at a speed of 80 km per hour, travels between Mina, Muzdalifah, and Arafat and serves pilgrims.


The Saudi Railway Company “SAR” is striving to implement the wise strategic vision of the railway transport sector, by taking advantage of all useful and advanced means, including advanced means of communication; because of the service of our country, the interest of our economy, and the well-being of the people of the country.

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