Trade Commission of Spain in Chicago

Spanish High-Speed Rail Earns International Recognition

Spain will build and operate the high-speed rail between Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia

  • A Spanish-Saudi consortium has been awarded the $9.3 billion high-speed railroad bid for the pilgrim route.
  • The contract includes design, construction, operation and maintenance of the rail line (280 miles) and trains for 12 years.

A consortium consisting of 12 Spanish and two Saudi enterprises, led by ADIF and RENFE, will build and operate the high-speed railroad between Mecca and Medina, Arabia Saudi authorities reported today.

According to the decision of the Saudi Arabian Government, the €6.7 billion ($9.3 billion) project has been awarded to the Spanish-Saudi consortium Al Shoula Group. This is the biggest international contract won by Spanish companies.

The project was considered to be an urgent and priority need for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With 450 kilometres (280 miles) of double electrified track, it will provide an efficient and quality service to the growing number of pilgrims travelling from Mecca to Medina, as well as its residents.

The Spanish-Saudi consortium Al Shoula Group comprises three Spanish public companies, Adif, Renfe, and Ineco (all of them under the authority of Spain´s Ministry of Civil Works and Transportation), as well as Indra, OHL, Consultrans, Copasa, Imathia, Cobra, Dimetronic, Inabensa and TALGO, and two Saudi companies, Al Shoula and Al Rosan.

Spanish State-of-the-Art Technology

The high-speed railroad project Mecca - Jeddah - Medina comprises the following services:

  • Design and construction of the railroad tracks and system
  • The supply of 35 high-speed train sets, designed to run faster than 300 km/h (around 187 mph) and the purchase option of 23 additional trains during the operation period
  • The train sets' maintenance
  • The operation and maintainance of the rail line for a period of 12 years with an option to an extension period.

Service will be provided with a fleet of 35 trains with a technology that has been tested for more than one year following the standards of the Technical Specifications for Interoperability and meets the highest expectations of quality demanded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Each of the Renfe Class 102- and 112-based trains will have capacity for more than 450 passengers, which will provide daily transportation for 166,000 passengers, resulting in a yearly potential capacity of 60 million passengers. At peak times the service will have demands of 11,000 to 13,000 passengers per hour.

The project will have trains equipped with the latest signalling and communication systems, as well as an electrified double track, designed to run at speeds of up to 320 km/h (around 200 mph), which will allow to travel from Mecca to Medina in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

This will be one of the safest high-speed railroads in the world, with the most modern equipment.

The Spanish Model Arouses International Interest

The choice of a Spanish consortium for this ambitious project proves that the Spanish high-speed model is exportable to other countries and markets. It also demonstrates that the investment effort made by Spain has established the country as a point of reference in high-speed and has boosted its companies towards world leadership in the various subsectors.

The firm support of the Ministry of Civil Works has enabled collaborating relationships with numerous contacts within this sector worldwide. Many foreign authorities have visited Spain to discuss, the Spanish railway system with Minister José Blanco, and showed interest in learning the keys to success of the Spanish model.

Last June, the United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood visited Spain again to participate in the Spain-US High-Speed-Rail seminar organized within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between both countries. He stated that in his regard the Spanish high-speed rail model is nowadays the best in the world.