Riyadh Metro ... a 176-km-long network featuring 85 stations.

Testing is currently under way on two major lines of the 176-km-long Riyadh Metro network featuring 85 stations, with the first lines on course to open in the Saudi capital city this year, according to a report.

Timetable tests on lines 4 and 6, respective 30 km and 13 km overground lines, are being stepped up with a view to handing the lines over to the operator, the Flow consortium – comprising Alstom, Hitachi Rail STS, and Italian State Railways – in the second half of 2021, reported the International Railway Journal.

Flow will then simulate network operations ahead of the start of passenger services, stated the report citing a senior official.

“We are running in what we call carousel mode with 35 trains to simulate the timetable, the maintenance and various other areas,” remarked Lindsay Vamplew, project director for the Ramped consortium comprising WSP (previously Louis Berger) and Hill International, which is overseeing Package Three of the project comprising lines 4, 5 and 6.

“At the same time, we are trying to complete the stations, with building systems the last part of that. We are looking for those two lines to go into system demonstration in roughly May and potentially trial running where we handover to the operator to simulate the network in June or July, with a view to getting those two lines running,” noted Vamplew.

Work on the $23-billion Riyadh Metro project kicked off in April 2014. The Saudi capital city is also developing an integrated city-wide 1,900-km bus network with around 3,000 stops. 

Progress is also being made on lines 1, 2 and 3, which are similarly in the final 10 to 12 per cent of the works to be implemented although slightly behind on rolling stock testing, which is not at the carousel stage yet, stated Carter Rohan, the project director for the RMTC project management consultancy.

RMTC consortium comprises Parsons, Egis and Systra, which is overseeing Packages 1 and 2 covering lines 1, 2 and 3.