[passenger] Stadler Intercity trains for Saudi Arabia Railways

On 05.02.2024, Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and Stadler signed contracts for the supply and maintenance of 10+10 ‘Next Generation Passenger Trains’ to operate the network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For Stadler, these are the first contracts in one of the fastest-growing railway markets, the GCC region:

Stadler Intercity train for SAR. Artistic impression © Stadler Rail

The agreement consists of a base contract for ten trainsets with an option for ten more. The maintenance contract provides full maintenance support and spare parts for ten years with an option to be extended by another 10 years (also for the optional trains). The total contract value of both base contracts is equal to approx. CHF 600 million.

The new trainsets will be designed according to the latest ‘European and international standards’ and equipped for Saudi Arabia’s climatic and ambient conditions. They will be approximately 175 meters long, including two ‘independent’ diesel-electric power heads meeting the Stage V emission standard. Each train will have space for approximately 320 passengers.

The contract follows an international tender procedure initiated by SAR in 2022, the selection of Stadler as SAR’s preferred bidder in 2023, and an extensive negotiation process.

Railcolor: The artist’s impression shows a train with a familiar face. Stadler decided to use the cab module of a SMILE/Giruno train for the SAR tender. The end cars have no passenger accommodation and are single-cab diesel locomotives. The choice to use diesel trains is, in our opinion, disappointing in a country that has so many resources to boost innovation. 

Rail transport in Saudi Arabia is experiencing a prosperous period. A few days ago, Saudi Arabia Railways struck a SAR 200 million (EUR 50 million) deal with Italian hospitality company Arsenale Group to launch the first luxury train in the Middle Eastern kingdom, the Dream of the Desert.