By Joanne Bladd
Winning consortiums were led by Saudi Bin Laden Group and Saudi Oger; to build four railway stations
The Saudi Railways Organisation awarded SR9.38bn ($2.5bn) in contracts to two consortiums, which include Germany's Deutsche Bahn and Italy's Astaldi, to build four railway stations in the kingdom, it said on Wednesday.
The winning consortiums were led by Saudi Bin Laden Group and Saudi Oger.
The high-speed Haramain Railway will link Islam's holiest cities Mecca and Medina to the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah, a key entry point for millions of pilgrims, and to King Abdullah Economic City, currently under construction.
Up to three million pilgrims visit Mecca every year and struggle to make it to Medina after conducting the annual haj, or head back to Jeddah on overleaded buses and taxis.
Saudi Bin Laden Group's consortium included Deutsche Bahn and Turkey's Yapi Merkezi while Saudi Oger led a group that included Astaldi, Ansaldo, Singapore's ST Electronics and El Seif + Atkins.
"Two contracts were signed with Saudi Bin Laden Group for Makkah and Madinah Stations. Makkah station with a value of 3 billion riyals and Madinah station with a value of SR1.6bn," SRO's president Abdul Aziz al-Hokail said in an emailed statement.
"The other two contracts were signed with Saudi Oger Ltd, one to build a passenger station in Jeddah worth SR2.9bn, and the other to build KAEC station in Rabigh with a value of SR1.8bn."
SRO is also studying bids for the second and final phase of the Haramain Railway project which includes the construction of the railway tracks, installation of signal systems and telecommunications as well as the procurement of rolling stock equipment.
It will include infrastructure maintenance for the project for 12 years.