Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and the University of Birmingham have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on research and development and railway education.
Under the agreement, the experts of the two organisations will work at the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) to deliver specialised railway education for SAR employees.
“SAR has an ambitious growth strategy, which we are very excited to be supporting. Together we can ensure access to expertise, cutting-edge technology, and a pipeline of next generation engineers that will secure a robust future for the industry in Saudi Arabia,” Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, said.
Saudi Arabia Railways is the largest state-owned railway operator in the Middle East, with ambitious and high-tech growth plans for both its passenger and freight railways business over the next five years.
“The launch of SAR’s five-year strategy in 2020 made it essential for SAR to build a national pool of talent for its various functions. This will ensure that SAR can achieve and go beyond its ambitious targets. We chose the University of Birmingham as our partner to deliver their world class technical railway education to our national talent pool,” Eng. Abdulrahman Turkistani, Human Resources & Support Services General Manager, said.
Under the five-year strategy, which was internationally presented at InnoTrans, SAR wants to build 3,000 km of rail lines reaching an 8,000 km rail network. The strategy includes the Land Bridge rail project which will connect the port of Jeddah on the Red Sea, to Al Jubail, on the Arabian Sea.
It covers a 1,300 km tail line crossing Saudi Arabia in its entire width, between the two seas surrounding the Arabian Peninsula. The line will be non-electrified double track with plans including to be electrified in the future. Land Bridge project consists of 4 passenger stations including one in Jeddah for interchange with the Mecca – Medina high-speed line and two large dry ports in the areas of Jeddah and Riyadh.
To develop its rail system, Saudi Arabia’s Transport Minister launched a call to involve the private sector into the design and construction works for the future selected projects.