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Wed 4 Jun 2014 01:59 PM

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Saudi anti-corruption commission urged to probe railway delays

Call comes after Haramain Railway project was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012

Saudi anti-corruption commission urged to probe railway delays

Saudi’s Shoura Council has urged the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) to investigate delays in completing the Haramain Railway project after it was originally scheduled to be finished by 2012, it was reported.

At a meeting to discuss the annual report of the Saudi Railway Organization (SRO), it said the Nazaha should investigate the budget allocated to the Haramain Railway project and the reasons for the increase in the funds needed for the completion of the project, Arab News reported.

The Shoura also urged the SRO to provide a timeframe to dispose of old trains, and explain decreasing numbers of train passengers each year.

It also called for privatisation efforts to be fast-tracked, the newspaper reported.

The Haramain High-Speed Rail Project includes a 450km rail link between Makkah and Madinah and passes through Jeddah and Rabigh.

The railway will cut down travel time between the two holy cities to two hours and between Jeddah and Makkah to half an hour.

The $1.8 billion contract for Phase One was awarded in March 2009 to the Al-Rajhi Alliance, a consortium of Chinese and Saudi companies, the China Railway Engineering and Alstom Transport. In April 2009, $38 million worth of design contracts for four of the five train stations were awarded to a joint venture between Foster & Partners and Buro Happold.

In February 2010, a $96 million contract was awarded to Dar Al Handasa consultants to supervise the project and a $24 million contract to manage the system was signed by Scott Wilson. Renfe was awarded the Phase Two contract to supply 35 of the Talgo 350 high speed trains.

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