SAUDI Railways Organisation announced on June 25 that six of the seven bidding groups had been shortlisted for a BOT concession to build the 444 km Western Railway high speed line linking Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah.

Transport Minister Dr Jobara Al-Suraisry expects that tenders will be invited in the next few months. SRO is being assisted in the bidding process by UBS, National Commercial Bank and SNCF International.

  • The Saudi Japanese Consortium includes Saudi Archirodon and Saudi British Bank, working with Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, JBIC, ABN-AMRO and Veolia Transport.
  • The Al Rajhi Alliance led by Mada Group includes Bouygues, Alstom, Al Arrab Contracting, Eurostar UK, Arup and China Railway Engineering Corp.
  • Saudi Binladen Group is backed by DB AG, Siemens Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, TSO, Ircon and Yapi Merkezi.
  • OHL International of Spain is working with Consolidated Contractors, CAF, National Bank of Dubai, ADIF, Thales and Indra.
  • The Al-Shoula Consortium brings together Vision Transportation, Talgo, Renfe, FCC, Comsa and Elecnor.
  • Saudi Oger Ltd is backed by El Seif Engineering, Ansaldo Trasporti Sistemi Ferroviari, Ansaldobreda and FS of Italy, plus Russian Railways.

Expected to cost around US$6bn, the line would be used by 3 million pilgrims during the Hadj and 2 million Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan each year.