Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) experienced an annual increase of 84 per cent in passenger traffic during the first half of the current year, with 4.4 million passengers using the rail network.
Train trips also saw an annual uptick of 46pc in the first half, totalling 16,404 trips collectively on the East Train, North Train, and Haramain High-Speed Railway networks, according to SAR. The firm’s chief executiveBashar Al Malik said that the positive performance of the kingdom’s rail network was mainly driven by the successful Haj season.
The Haramain Express route facilitated 3,627 journeys, offering 750,000 seats for pil- grims in 2023. Additionally, the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line transported 2.13m pilgrims over 2,208 trips. During Ramadan, the Haramain Express service carried over 818,000 passengers on more than 2,540 train journeys, a 265pc increase compared to the same period last year. Highlighting the rail network’s good performance, SAR noted that its daily trip count exceeded 115 during the holy month, with a commitment rate of over 97pc.
In the second quarter alone, Saudi Arabia Railways transported 2.2m passengers. The rail network also played a role in transporting minerals and goods, moving over 6.34m tonnes during the same period. The volume of transported minerals and goods during the first half reached 12m tonnes, up 13pc compared to the previous year, contributing to a reduction of 970,000 truck trips. Al Malik noted that the freight transportation sector witnessed a number of strategic agreements and memoranda of understanding.
“These agreements include transportation via railways and upgrading services, in addition to technical linkage with many entities, which improve customer experience, whether those benefiting from freight services or travellers over the railway networks,” he added, highlighting SAR’s achievements in the first half. In April, SAR signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy’s Arsenale Group to host the Middle East’s first luxury train. The signing of the MoU came amid the kingdom’s efforts to boost its tourism sector in line with Vision 2030 goals to diversify its economy