Spanish firms win mega-deal to build Saudi high-speed line

Consortium chosen to construct 6.5-billion-euro Mecca-Medina-Jeddah rail link includes Renfe, OHL, Talgo and Indra

The Saudi Railways Organization on Wednesday said it had approved the award of a multi-billion-euro contract to a Spanish-led consortium to build a high-speed lane linking the holy cities of Mecca, and Medina, as well as Jeddah.

Phase 2 of the Haramain High Speed Rail Project (HHR) was assigned to the Al -Shoula consortium, which includes, apart from Spain's state-owned rail operator Renfe and the operator of its railway network Adif, other Spanish companies such as builder OHL, information-technology company Indra, the train and rolling-stock manufacturer Talgo, and Cobra, a unit of leading constriction group ACS.

The budget for the project amounts to 6.5 billion euros. Spanish companies control 88 percent of the consortium, with the remaining 12 percent in Saudi hands.

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This phase of the HHR project includes the construction of railway tracks, the installation of signaling and telecommunication systems, electrification, an operational control center, as well as the supply of 35 high-speed train and an operation and maintenance contract for 12 years.

Spain beat out competition from China, South Korea, Germany and France.