SAUDI ARABIA: President of Saudi Railways Organization Mohammed bin Khalid Al-Suwaiket attended a ceremony in Dammam on December 7 to mark the start of faster passenger services to Riyadh using four push-pull trainsets supplied by CAF of Spain. Designed for a maximum speed of 200 km/h, the trains will operate at up to 180 km/h, ‘even during extreme weather conditions’, according to SRO.

Al-Suwaiket said that the new push-pull trains were ‘a quantum leap’ for SRO’s passenger services. Designed to meet a demanding performance specification, each train has 274 seats in two classes spread over five cars with stainless steel bodyshells, the sixth vehicle being a diesel power car. Passengers have access to wi-fi and video and audio entertainment channels, and a dedicated area is provided for passengers with reduced mobility. The trains are fitted with ERTMS, event recorders and smoke detectors.

The trains are entering service following completion of SRO’s project to double track the 449 km Dammam – Riyadh main line, which will allow an increase in the number of services from the previous five daily return workings plus additional trains at weekends.