Saudi train fares ‘to be competitive compared to air ticket prices’

The train systems deployed in the Kingdom are considered the most advanced. (SPA)
Updated 08 August 2017
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Saudi train fares ‘to be competitive compared to air ticket prices’

RIYADH: Train fares within the Kingdom will be competitive compared to the cost of traveling by air, an official of the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) told local media.
Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, chief executive of SAR, said the Kingdom has completed the majority of its planned railway network, notably in Makkah and the Northern Borders regions.
Some commercial operations have begun, while the Makkah-Madinah railway line is expected to go into commercial operation before the end of 2017, Al-Malik told the Al-Eqtisadiah daily.
The central and eastern regions will later be linked with a new line, in addition to the development of an existing track, Al-Malik said.
Outstanding works include linking the western and eastern parts of the Kingdom through the “land bridge” between Jeddah and Riyadh, which is expected to be implemented in the next year. The southern part of the Kingdom will be also linked with the western part under a strategic plan set by SAR and the Public Transport Authority (PTA), Al-Malik said.
The train systems deployed in the Kingdom are considered the most advanced, to the extent that the majority of European countries have not yet applied the technology, Al-Malik said.
The systems include a way to monitor train movements, departure timings, routes and speeds.
Al-Malik said Saudi rail projects have attracted a large number of national companies and Saudi engineers, whether in the form of sub-contracting or direct awarding contracts. Operation of the rail projects will come in the form of contracts with foreign firms, while the role of SAR will be to supervise the operators, Al-Malik said.


FaceOf: Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi military chief of staff

Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili
Updated 1 min 59 sec ago
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FaceOf: Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, Saudi military chief of staff

The military Chief of Staff of Saudi Arabia, Gen. Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, relayed Eid Al-Fitr greetings from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to members of the armed forces in the southern region.

Al-Ruwaili visited Prince Sultan Medical Military City in Riyadh to check on the wounded soldiers and relay the king's Eid greetings as well as his appreciation of their love for their country and the sacrifices they have made for the safety of the Kingdom.

Al-Ruwaili became Saudi Arabia’s chief of staff in February 2018 after the retirement of Gen. Abdulrahman Al-Bunayan.

Al-Ruwaili was born in Turaif, a small town in the Northern Borders region, in 1958. He went to school there, completing high school in Arar, then joined King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh where he graduated as lieutenant pilot.

After that, he received a scholarship and traveled to the US to complete his flight training at Lakeland in Florida. He did a master’s in military science from Air Command and Staff College, and earned a second master’s degree in strategic studies from the US Air University in Alabama.

He returned to the Kingdom, and worked on several air military bases until he became a squadron commander and then a wing commander. He was an assistant at the air base in Taif, before he became commander of King Fahd Air Base in the western sector of Taif.

In 2012, Al-Ruwaili was appointed as commander of the Air Force, before King Salman issued the royal decree that promoted him to the rank of General Officer and made him the Kingdom’s chief of staff.