Saudi Railways Organization

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Saudi Railways Organization
Native name
المؤسسة العامة للخطوط الحديدية
Founded13 May 1966; 56 years ago (1966-05-13)
HeadquartersDammam railway station, ,
Saudi Arabia
Area served
Saudi Arabia
Key people
  • Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al-Muqbil (Chairman)
  • Rumaih Mohamed Alrumaih (President)
RevenueSAR 535 million[1] (2014)

The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) (Arabic: المؤسسة العامة للخطوط الحديدية) is one of two state-owned companies that operates Saudi Arabia's rail network along with Saudi Railway Company. The SRO operates a network of railways with a total length of approximately 1,380 kilometers. The network consists of two main lines. A 449 km passenger line that links Dammam with Riyadh, and a 556 km freight line that connects the King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam with Riyadh.

There are plans to extend the network to the Red Sea port of Jeddah and, eventually to the borders of Jordan, Yemen, and perhaps all the way to Egypt.[2]

Approval to merge Saudi Railways Organization and Saudi Railway Company was announced in February 2021.[3]


The first railway in modern Saudi Arabia was the Hejaz Railway, from the border of Jordan to Medina. This 1,050 mm (3 ft 5+1132 in) narrow gauge railway opened in 1908, but closed in 1920.

Modern railways were introduced in Saudi Arabia after World War II, to facilitate the transport of goods for the Arabian American Oil Company, or Aramco (now Saudi Aramco), from ports located on the coast of the Persian Gulf to warehouses in Dhahran. Construction began in September 1947, and the first line was inaugurated on 20 October 1951. Several development projects have been completed since then, including an extension of the line to Riyadh, construction of several passenger terminals and the opening of a dry port in Riyadh.[4]


Rail transport map of Saudi Arabia. SRO operated on the both red lines.

The network consists of the following lines:

Dammam–Riyadh line[edit]

Cargo line[edit]

Planning for the line started in 1947 with an agreement between King Ibn Saud and ARAMCO to lay a 547 km (about 340 mi) freight line. Bechtel Construction Company was chosen to build the rail line and a sea port at the eastern end of the rail line at Dammam. Construction of the line began in September 1947. In 1948, veteran American railroad engineer James H. Gildea was hired to oversee the project. The most serious obstacle to building the rail line was the Persian Gulf shallows at Dammam. To allow deep draft vessels to unload, a rail causeway of approximately seven miles was built out into the Persian Gulf with the first five miles a rock causeway and the last couple of miles a section made of a steel trestle. One of the first vessels to unload was a Dutch freighter, in 1950, with a load of rails for construction of the line. The first trains started moving between Dammam and Riyadh in the early 1950s.[5]

Branch lines[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

Spanish manufacturer CAF delivered eight fast diesel locomotives in 2012, with one driving van trailer passenger car and four other passenger cars, with a leading power car unit; plus two spare power cars. They are used on the Dammam–Riyadh Line. During 2013 the travel time is 4:15 but there is a target of 3:00 for the future.


Class Image Top speed Number Remarks Built
mph km/h
CAF SRO push-pull diesel train 5006 at Dammam station.jpg 112 180 8 passenger units, 10 power cars (5001-5010) Passenger trainsets with dedicated power cars. 2011

Diesel Locomotives[edit]

Class Image Top speed Number Remarks Built
mph km/h
ALCO RS-1 65 105 6 Series 1000-1005 Diesel-electric locomotives. Originally Arabian American Oil Company A11x50-A11x51, 1002-1005 1947-1951
EMD SW1001 5 Series 1022-1026 Order 818000 1/5 Diesel-electric locomotives.[6] 1981
Class 2400 NS 2498.jpg 50 80 7 Secondhand Diesel-electric locomotives taken over from NS by Volker Stevin in 1976 for construction works for a seaport in Jubail. Former 2427, 2445, 2485, 2497, 2499, 2519, 2523. Renumbered into 101-107. Sold to Archirodon for rail reconstruction between Damman and Riyadh and renumbered to 276-04 - 276-09. Some scrapped in 1983. Others active until 1994 and stored in Hofuf afterwards.[7] 1954-56
EMD G18 16 Series 1006-1021 Orders 710971-710975, 713081-713082, 713233-713235, and 748005 1/6 Diesel-electric locomotives. 1968-1976
EMD GP18M 1 Series 1200 Order 700178 Diesel-electric locomotives.[6] rated at 1500 horsepower 1961
EMD FP7A 2 Series 1500-1501 Order 7019 Diesel-electric locomotives taken over from Arabian American Oil Company (their 1006-1007).[8] 1953
EMD FP9A 7 Series 1502-1508 Orders 701553, 701493-701494, 702272-702275 Diesel-electric locomotives 1956-1959
GP38-2 1 Series 2000. Order 712783. Diesel-electric locomotives 1973
GPL38S 7 Series 2001-2007. Order 201288865. Diesel-electric locomotives 2015
GT22CW 3 Series 2001-2003. Order 748004. Diesel-electric locomotives 1976
SDL38-2 6 Series 2004-2009. Order 778050. Diesel-electric locomotives[9] 1978
SDL38 6 Series 2030-2035. Order 20148061 Diesel-electric locomotives 2016
EMD SDL50 31 Series 3500-3530 Diesel-electric locomotives[10] 1981-2005
EMD SD70ACS 61 Series 4000-4060 Diesel-electric locomotives for a mineral railway[11] 2010-2016
GT46ACS 17 Series 4300-4316. Orders 20118517 and 20148134. Diesel-electric locomotives 2013-2015
Class 319.2 75 120 >4 Diesel-electric locomotives bought second hand.[12]


The SRO has several plans to expand the network as part of the Saudi Railway Master Plan 2010-2040 (SRMP). Some of the projects under the plan are:

  • Saudi Landbridge: The Landbridge project is aimed at connecting the Red Sea with the Persian Gulf. It will involve the construction of a 950 km line from Jeddah Islamic Port to Riyadh, and a 115 km line from Dammam to Jubail.[13][14]
  • North-South line[15]
  • The Gulf Railway project is a propose railway network of 2116 km linking all GCC countries. The length of the track inside Saudi Arabia would be 663 km.[16]
  • The SRO also has plans to construct three lines in southern Saudi Arabia to improve the region's connectivity with the rest of the country. The lines are the Taif-Khamis Mushayt–Abha line (706 km), the Jeddah-Jizan line (660 km), and the Yanbu–Jeddah line (350 km).[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (PDF) Retrieved 2021-02-20. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved August 1, 2008. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Saudi Railways Organization and Saudi Railways Company merger approved". Global Railsay Review. 2021-02-19. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  4. ^ "Establishment". Saudi Railways.
  5. ^ "American Railroad on the Arabian Desert." Popular Mechanics, April 1952, pp. 107–110.
  6. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia - Saudi Railways Organisation : Prototypes by Country - TT scale trains and models".
  7. ^ Dierdorp, Sicco & Davy Beumer (2011), D.E.-Locomotieven serie 2200/2300 en 2400/2500. Alkmaar: De Alk
  8. ^ "Pictures of SRO 1501".
  9. ^ Ward, compiled by Jeffery S. "EMD 778050; SDL38-2; Saudi Arabia; Gov't Ry 2004-2009".
  10. ^ "RailPictures.Net Photo: SRO 3527 Saudi Railways Organization EMD SDL50 at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia by Tom Hewitt".
  11. ^ HaRakevet: Rothschild PhD, Rabbi Walter (2010), New mineral railway Issue 90
  12. ^ "World rolling stock market May 2014",, 11 May 2014
  13. ^ "Landbridge Project". SRO.
  14. ^ "Saudi bidding hots up". Railway Gazette International. 2008-03-10. Archived from the original on 2020-08-21.
  15. ^ "North-South Line Project". SRO.
  16. ^ "SRO".
  17. ^ "Projects Underway". SRO. Archived from the original on 2016-04-28.

External links[edit]