A new railway for Saudi Arabia
More than 450 million cubic metres of sand and stone will
have to be moved when a new railway line is constructed through vast desert
regions in Saudi Arabia, says COWI, the leading international consulting group
based in Denmark.
The new railway line of approximately 2,400 km will play an important part in
the improvement of the Saudi infrastructure. It will run from the Jordanian
border in the north-west region of the country to the capital Riyadh and on to
the Arabian Gulf.
The railway will be primarily carrying three kilometre-long ore-trains hauling
bauxite and phosphates from mines in the central parts of Saudi Arabia to the
coast. Here the raw materials are processed before being shipped out.
The railway will also be used for passenger and freight transport, carrying some
1.2 million passengers a year between Riyadh and the northern parts of the
country at speeds of up to 160 km an hour.
"What sets this project apart is not only its scale but also its location, as
the line will travel through extensive deserts where the height of the dunes
poses an enormous challenge for the contractors," says Klavs Wassard Hestbek
Lund, a project manager for COWI.
He adds, "The extreme differences in levels mean that embankments of up to 60
metres in height have to be constructed. In addition, we face the problem of
COWI is reviewing the detailed design of the project, which is being conducted
for the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. The railway is expected to be put
in operation in 2010.
[11 September 2006]