Systra to design time-traveling tramline in Saudi Arabia

French engineer Systra has signed a contract with a local authority to design a tramway connecting the northwestern Saudi Arabian city of AlUla with major historical landmarks nearby.

Systra will study a 21km-long northern link connecting the AlUla central train station to the ancient city of Hegra and other archaeological sites undergoing reconstruction. It would allow visitors to “travel through time”, Systra said.

15 stations are envisaged, with trams, made to resemble those from the historic Hijaz railway, traveling at a maximum speed of 50km/h.

Systra’s scope of work includes preliminary and detailed design studies for the AlUla tramway’s infrastructure, landscape and architecture, stations, workshop/depot, track, rolling stock and systems.

The company will also assess the social and environmental impact of the project as well as preparing the technical tender documents.

It is working alongside Arcos Engineering, Archaïos, Elard, Laba and RGF. Work on the project is due to begin in 2022 and be completed in 2023.

The plan eventually is to build a southern link from AlUla to its airport in the south, giving the tramway a total length of some 50km.

Belal Deiranieh, Systra Saudi Arabia’s managing director, said the tramway would provide “a unique and immersive experience, in the heart of this remarkable cultural and heritage destination”.

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