SAUDI Binladen Group confirmed on November 27 that it had been awarded the main construction contract for Saudi Arabia's 2 000 km north-south mineral railway, which is due to be completed by 2011.

Eight consortia submitted bids for the work tendered by the Public Investment Fund, which is part of the Ministry of Finance (RG 3.06 p127). Binladen's price of 2 356m riyals bettered Chinese Railways' 18th Engineering Bureau (2 609m), OHL of Spain (2 994m) and Australia's Barclay-Mowlem (3 124m).

The construction package includes 83 million m3 of earthworks, construction of 254 bridges and 1 059 culverts, production of 4·6 million concrete sleepers and the laying of 2 400 km of track, requiring 194 000 rail welds and 6·1 million m3 of ballast.

  • Saudi Railways Organisation has now shortlisted four consortia for the 50-year concession to build and operate the east-west Saudi Landbridge between Jeddah, Riyadh and Jubail. Meanwhile, SRO has awarded a 3·3m riyals contract to local engineering consultancy Dar Al-Handasa for feasibility studies into an extension of the planned Western Railway from Jeddah to Jizan in the southwest and a line from Taif to Khamis Mushayt in the Asir region.