The Saudi Railway Organization (SRO) has big plans to link various parts of the Kingdom with a railway network, including a 660-km railway line between Jeddah and Jazan and another 700-km line that will connect Taif with the Asir region.
“We have drafted a strategic plan for railway expansion spanning 9,900 km and 19 railway lines. We are now in the process of upgrading the plan,” said Mohammed bin Khaled Al-Suwaiket, president of SRO.
He said the dual line between Jeddah and southern Jazan would pass by Shuaiba, Al-Laith, Madhleef, Qunfudah, Amq, Barak, Qahma, Shuqaiq and Sabya.
The Taif-Abha line on the eastern part of Sarawat mountains will pass by Mawiya, Kharma, Bisha and Khamis Mushayt, the president said on his Twitter account.
He said the Jeddah-Jazan line would be linked with the landbridge project that connects Riyadh with the Red Sea port city.
“The plan also includes another railway line linking Al-Kharj with Asir and Najran,” he added.
The third line will pass by major cities and principalities in the region, including Houtat Bani Tameem, Aflaj, Sulail, Tathlith and Khamis Mushayt. Another line will be constructed from Sulail to reach Najran, he said.
“We will coordinate with governorates in different regions to identify suitable routes for the railway lines.”
Citizens and expats have welcomed the SRO’s railway expansion plan, saying it would reduce road accidents and make travel within the vast Kingdom more comfortable.
They urged the SRO to speed up implementation of the projects, either through public or private investment.
“Trains will bring down the number of deaths resulting from road crashes and reduce the use of trucks that cause environment pollution,” said one Saudi national.