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Sat 3 Jan 2009 10:35 AM

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$5.3bn Saudi rail link tender bids set to be opened

Work on the Mecca to Madinah railway project expected to start shortly.

Work on the Mecca to Madinah railway project is expected to start soon as Saudi authorities consider the four bids for the 20 billion riyal ($5.3 billion) contract.

The tender bids sent in by the four consortia will be opened in Jan, transport chiefs have announced.

“The financial offers for the Makkah-Madinah Railway Link (MMRL) project will be opened this month,” said Transport Minister Jabara al-Seraisry in comments published by Arab News on Saturday.

King Abdullah ordered the implementation of the project last February in a bid to bring about improvements in the transportation of pilgrims between the two holy cities.

The MMRL project, which is designed to operate trains with a speed of more than 300km per hour, would reduce travel time between Jeddah and Mecca to 30 minutes and between Jeddah and Madinah to two hours.

The MMRL includes the construction of 450km of high-speed electrified railway lines between Jeddah and Mecca and between Jeddah and Madinah.

The new railway will link the two holy cities with Jeddah and Rabigh as well as King Abdul Aziz International Airport and Jeddah Islamic Port.

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