Riyadh: Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) has released its quarterly report, revealing that in the first quarter of 2024, over 2.7 million passengers utilized its services. This marks a 23% increase compared to the same period last year.

Additionally, passenger train trips have risen by 3%, totaling 8,252 trips across the East Train, North Train, and Haramain Express train networks.

SAR has also reported that the volume of minerals and goods transported on its networks during the first quarter of 2024 amounted to 6.34 million tons. This showcases a 9% increase compared to the same period last year. This surge has aided in reducing the number of truck trips on the country’s roads by over 500,000, thereby enhancing traffic safety rates, preserving road infrastructure, and mitigating carbon emissions.

CEO of SAR, Dr. Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, affirmed that these results underscore the escalating demand for distinguished transportation services via railways, recognized as one of the most reliable, secure, and environmentally friendly means of transportation. He further noted that SAR is steadily progressing towards achieving its national strategic goals, initiating several pioneering and distinctive future projects during the first quarter of 2024, including the signing of the luxury “Desert Dream” train agreement, a first in the Middle East and North Africa. Dr. Al-Malik disclosed that the train is slated to commence its inaugural trips by the end of 2025, elaborating that SAR has connected the logistics zone to the second industrial city in Dammam to the railway network. According to the CEO, this linkage will grant access to King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam, the Riyadh Dry Port, and the ports of Jubail and Ras Al-Khair.

Furthermore, SAR has inked two memoranda of understanding with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON), in collaboration with the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), to bolster the industrial sector’s supply chains in the central and eastern regions and facilitate product access to local, regional, and global markets.

SAR has also finalized a contract with Stadler, a Swiss rail vehicle manufacturing company, to procure 10 modern passenger trains for the East Train network. The introduction of these new trains will effectively double the network's annual capacity to over 3.8 million passengers, enabling the operation of direct “Express” trips from Riyadh to Dammam to meet the escalating demand for trips between the two primary cities in the Kingdom.