Spanish group wins Saudi rail contract

October 27th, 2011 - 12:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, Oct 27 (IANS/EFE) A consortium of 12 Spanish firms won a contract worth 6.7 billion euros ($9.3 billion) to build a high-speed rail service linking the Saudi cities of Medina and Mecca, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Spain said Wednesday.

The line will be built by the Al-Shoula Consortium, which includes Spanish state rail operator Renfe and the Saudi companies Al Shoula and Al Rosan, the Saudi Railways Organization announced.

Al-Shoula prevailed over a consortium led by France’s Alstom.

King Juan Carlos telephoned Saudi monarch Abdullah to express appreciation for the decision to award the contract to the Spanish consortium.

The project comprises the design and construction of the railway, the provision of 35 high-speed trains and maintaining the system for 12 years.

The contract includes an option for the Saudis to buy an additional 12 trains.

Known as the pilgrim route because it will link Medina and Mecca, the railway is expected to carry more than 150,000 passengers a day at speeds of up to 320 kph.

It will take the high-speed trains less than 2 1/2 hours to cover the 450 km between the two cities.

Besides Renfe and the two Saudi firms, the Al-Shoula Consortium comprises OHL, Adif, Talgo, Indra, ACS subsidiary Cobra, Copasa, Dimetronic, Inabensa, Imathia, Consulstrans and Ineco.

Talgo’s president, Carlos Palacio Oriol, said winning the Saudi contract represents a “milestone for the Spanish railway industry and technology (and) a platform for future international tenders for high-speed projects”.

–IANS/EFE
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