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The national Public Transport Authority has invited international railway operators and investors to express interest in forming a long-term partnership to operate the country’s rail network.
The process forms part of the Saudi Vision 2030 programme, which aims to increase the role of the private sector in the country in an effort to increase the quality of service provision and reduce dependency on the government.
The planned contract would cover the operation of passenger and freight services on the 1 412 km Riyadh – Dammam network currently run by Saudi Railways Organization as well as on the 2 390 km North–South Railway which is managed by Saudi Railway Co.
Proposed lines such as the Riyadh – Jeddah Landbridge could also be included, but the Haramain High Speed Rail line where test running is now underway is specifically excluded.
As part of the expression of interest process, PTA is seeking feedback on the optimum contract length and the best model to use. Options could include a gross cost contract with the state taking the revenue risk, or a net cost deal transferring more risk to the operator.
PTA envisages completing the selection of a partner by the end of 2018.
This article first appeared on www.railwaygazette.com
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