Saudi Railways Organization

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Saudi Railways Organization
Rail transport map of Saudi Arabia.png
Saudi Railway Organization Projects.
Red is the functional line as of 2008.
Black is the Saudi Landbridge.
The North South Railway connects Riyadh to Jordan.
The Haramain High Speed Rail Project will connect Mecca to Medina.
Reporting mark SRO
Locale Saudi Arabia
Dates of operation October 20, 1951–present
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Length 1200 km
Headquarters Dammam, Eastern Province

The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) is a state-owned company that operates Saudi Arabia's rail network.

SRO provides freight services on two main lines totalling 1018 km. These connect Riyadh with the port of Dammam on the coast of the Persian Gulf.[1] SRO passenger trains operate between Riyadh and Dammam.

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]


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 was shut down in 1915.

Modern railways were introduced in Saudi Arabia after World War II, to facilitate the transport of goods to ARAMCO (Now Saudi Aramco) from ports located on the coast of the Persian Gulf to warehouses in Dhahran. Construction started in October 1947 and the first line was inaugurated on October 20, 1951. It was initially run by Aramco, but subsequently transferred to the state and since 1968 has been operated as a public corporation. 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.[3]


The Saudi rail network consist of the following main lines:

  • Line 1: Dammam - Abqaiq - Hofuf - Riyadh (449.11 km), used by passenger trains.
  • Line 2: Dammam - Abqaiq - Hofuf - Haradh - Al Kharj - Riyadh (555.951 km), used by freight trains

Note: Despite the tracks of both lines running parallel on the same alignment between Dammam and Hofuf, they are operated as separate lines.

  • Dammam Port Line (12.854 km)[4]

The link to Jordan is defunct.

Saudi Railways Expansion Programme[edit]

SRO is planning to expand the network.[5] Projects include:

  • The Saudi Landbridge, a 945 km line from Riyadh to Jeddah and a 115 km line from Dammam and Jubail, connecting the Persian Gulf with the Red Sea.[6]
  • The North South Railway from Riyadh via Buraidah, Hail and Al Jawf to Al Haditha, with a branch to Ras Azzwar on the coast of the Persian Gulf and some minor branches to bauxite and phosphate mines. This will mainly be for mineral transport, but general freight and passenger transport is also planned.[6]
  • The Haramain High Speed Rail Project or Western Railway linking Mecca and Medina, and connecting with the network at Jeddah. This will provide a safe and comfortable means of transport for Hajj pilgrims arriving via Jeddah. Construction works started in 2009. 320 km/h electric trains are planned.[7]

Towns served[edit]

Riyadh Station

Rolling stock[edit]

Spanish manufacturer CAF has in delivered 2012 delivered eight fast diesel locomotives, 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
EMD SW1200 5 Diesel-electric locomotives. Series 1022-1026[8] 50-60
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.[9] '54-'56
EMD GP18 Diesel-electric locomotives. 1200[8]
EMD FP7A 2 Diesel-electric locomotives taken over from Arabian American Oil Company (there 1006-1007).[10]
EMD SD38-2 6 Series 2004-2009. Order 778050. Diesel-electric locomotives[11] 1978
EMD SD50 Diesel-electric locomotives[12]
EMD SD70ACS 25 Diesel-electric locomotives for a mineral railway[13] 2010
CAF 112 180 8 Passenger Units & 10 Power Cars (5001-5010) Passenger Trainsets with dedicated Power Cars. 2011
Class 319.2 75 120 >4 (Series 319.)Diesel-electric locomotives bought second hand.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2][dead link]
  3. ^ [3][dead link]
  4. ^ Technical information on SRO[dead link]
  5. ^ [4][dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Saudi bidding hots up". Railway Gazette International. 2008-03-10. 
  7. ^ "Al Rajhi wins Makkah - Madinah civils contract". Railway Gazette International. 2009-02-09. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Dierdorp, Sicco & Davy Beumer (2011), D.E.-Locomotieven serie 2200/2300 en 2400/2500. Alkmaar: De Alk
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ HaRakevet: Rothschild PhD, Rabbi Walter (2010), New mineral railway Issue 90
  14. ^ "World rolling stock market May 2014",, 11 May 2014 

External links[edit]