Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's railway sector is experiencing a period of robust growth, exceeding expectations for passenger and cargo transportation in the first quarter of 2024.

According to official figures, ridership surged by an impressive 28% compared to Q1 2023, with over 8.7 million passengers utilizing rail services during the three-month period. This upswing is attributed to a rise in both intercity and intracity travel.

On intercity journeys, passenger numbers climbed to over 2.7 million, demonstrating the growing appeal and convenience of long-distance train travel. Intracity services also saw significant demand, transporting approximately 5.9 million passengers to urban areas.

The positive trend extends to the cargo sector as well. Over 6.3 million tons of metals and goods were transported by rail in Q1 2024, signifying a 9% year-on-year increase.

This growth underscores the increasing importance of railways in Saudi Arabia's infrastructure. Beyond offering a comfortable and efficient travel option, rail transport provides a range of benefits. The network serves as a crucial artery for industry, facilitating the movement of goods and supporting the smooth functioning of various sectors. Moreover, railways contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing reliance on road transportation and lowering carbon emissions.