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Construction of Mecca rail project to begin in 2013

Stage 1 construction of the Mecca Mass Rail Transit project (MMRT) is set to begin in 2013 with services due to begin in 2017.

AlBalad AlAmeen Company (BAC), which is leading the MMRT development, has appointed an advisory team of Ernst & Young, Ashurst and Parsons Brinckerhoff, and is working with its advisors to develop the procurement packages for the Stage 1 system, including rail infrastructure, rail systems, rolling stock, depot and operations.

The contracting structures are being finalised but it is expected that Stage 1 will be split into several procurement packages. Expressions of interest for Stage 1 are anticipated to take place in the latter third of 2011.

Dr Saad A Al-Gadhi, BAC's project director for the MMRT said that the project's development was fundamental to the transition from the existing, inefficient, private transport system to an integrated modern public transport system.

MMRT project will involve the construction of four new rail lines, which will be constructed in stages. Stage 1 will include the construction of sections of lines B and C. Line B section will be 10km long, with six new stations and will mainly be underground.

It will be an extension of the existing Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah rail line and connects to the new Haramain high-speed rail station west of Mecca city.

Line C section will be 29km long with 14 new stations, and will be constructed in a combination of tunnels and viaducts. The other two lines A and D will be constructed in future stages.