Saudi council seeks to probe Haramain project delay
Riyadh, June 4, 2014
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has urged the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) to investigate the delay in the completion of the Haramain Railway project, which was scheduled for completion by 2012, said a report.
The Haramain High-Speed Rail Project includes a 450-km rail link between Makkah and Madinah and passes through Jeddah and Rabigh, said the Arab News report.
It is aimed at cutting down travel time between the two holy cities to two hours and between Jeddah and Makkah to half an hour, it said.
The $1.8 billion contract for phase 1 was awarded in March 2009 to the Al-Rajhi Alliance, a consortium of Chinese and Saudi Arabian companies, the China Railway Engineering and Alstom Transport.
In April 2009, $38 million worth of design contracts for four of the five train stations were awarded to a joint venture between Foster & Partners and Buro Happold. In February 2010, a $96 million contract was awarded to Dar Al-Handasa consultants to supervise the project and a $24 million contract to manage the system was signed by Scott Wilson. Renfe was awarded the phase II contract to supply 35 of the Talgo 350 high speed trains.
"The Nazaha should also investigate the budget allocated to the Haramain Railway project and the reasons for the increase in the funds needed for the completion of the project," the Shoura Council was quoted as saying in a meeting held to discuss the annual report of the Saudi Railway Organization (SRO).
The Shoura also urged the SRO to give a timeframe to get rid of the old trains. "It should explain the decreasing numbers of train passengers each year," the council said while stressing the need for the SRO to speed up privatisation efforts.