By MD RASOOLDEEN | ARAB NEWS
Published: Aug 24, 2010 00:04 Updated: Aug 24, 2010 00:04
RIYADH: The first consignment of six of the 25 locomotives for the mineral railway line project was received Sunday by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) at the King Abdulaziz Seaport in Dammam.
"The locomotives are imported from EMD (Electro-Motive Diesels)," Fawaz Al-Magati, rolling stock supervisor of SAR, told Arab News on Monday.
Al-Magati said that the remaining 19 locomotives will arrive here by the end of this year. These 4,300-hp engines will be used for transporting mineral on the North-South Railway.
"They are designed to suit the climatic conditions of the Kingdom and are equipped with pulse and sand filters to travel through desert conditions," said Al-Magati.
Early last month, SAR received 125 of the 688 wagons for the mineral freight line. The locomotives are manufactured in Canada for the US-based company while the wagons are produced by the Chinese CSR company.
Al-Magati said training for the engine drivers and other technicians would start in October. The company's target is to start operations before the end of the year.
"We may do a test run in early November, Insha Allah," he said. "The 2,400-km North-South Railway is given priority due to its important role in industrial development of the Kingdom. It would ferry minerals from mines in the north and central zones of Al-Jalami and As-Zabirah to Ras Al-Zour in the east for processing."
The rail line — sponsored by Public Investment Fund — is integral to planned phosphate and bauxite mining projects in the north of the country that will link up with processing plants and smelters on the Gulf coast.
The new railway would transport 15,000 tons of minerals in a single trip, the equivalent of 600 cargo trucks. Al-Magati said each locomotive would pull 100 wagons.