Royal HaskoningDHV wins contract for Saudi Arabia high-speed railway

29 May 2018

Engineering, design and project management consultancy Royal HaskoningDHV has been awarded a consulting contract to conduct a market study for the new Saudi Arabian high-speed railway.

The Haramain high-speed rail project which is also known in the Kingdom as the Western Railway is a 453 kilometre long, high-speed intercity rail system which connects Makkah to Madinah, via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

The Dutch firm – which has over 100 offices worldwide – is a global expert in the fields of aviation, buildings, energy, industry, infrastructure, maritime, mining, transport, urban and rural development and water.

Royal Haskoning will provide the Al-Shoula Consortium, the agency running the railway service on behalf of the Saudi Railways Organisation, with surveys that will examine in detail current travel patterns, potential passenger profiles, economic characteristics and customer expectations towards the rail service.

These studies will be undertaken at strategic locations such as highway check-points, bus and taxi interchanges in Makkah and Jeddah, important areas in King Abdulaziz International Airport terminals, and aboard the train itself.Dutch firm hired to conduct strategic analysis of Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain high-speed rail projectFurthermore, the firm will conduct a comprehensive technical analysis to predict how the passenger demand for the service will grow in the future. The surveys will also include data on the “current travel patterns, potential passenger profiles, economic characteristics and customer expectations”.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s Director of Transport and Planning, Marwan Al Azzawi, said the company put its name forward for the project as it has a wealth of expertise in railways and transport planning as well as extensive knowledge of Saudi business.

"We have been working in the Middle East for over 50 years and our local knowledge of Saudi Arabia, combined with the international expertise in railways and transport planning, makes us well placed to undertake this important market study," said Al Azzawi.

"Our work will enable the government in Saudi Arabia to deliver this world-class high speed railway service for the country," he concluded.

The consulting firm is also working with the Saudi Railway Company with its new North-South railway network. Royal HaskoningDHV are providing project management consultancy for the interior design, procurement and supervision of all 71 main buildings along the 2750 km long railway line. 

Abu Dhabi hyperloop to begin construction by end of next year

02 November 2018

American transport-tech firm HyperloopTT has announced it will begin construction on the world’s first passenger hyperloop within the coming year, potentially slashing future overland travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to just ten minutes.

American rapid transport company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) has announced that construction on the world’s first commercial hyperloop – slated to run between Abu Dhabi and Dubai – will get underway in the third quarter of next year, with regional leader Dar Al-Handasah and a range of Dar Group engineering and design consultancies signed on to the project.

Most recently popularised by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the rapid terrestrial transport hyperhoop concept broadly features a system of depressurised tubes and magnetic accelerators to propel passenger capsules at speeds of up 1,200 kilometers per hour or greater – theoretically reducing the overland travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai from one hour and a half down to just eight to twelve minutes.

Following a late 2016 agreement with the Abu Dhabi transport department to conduct a feasibility study for a local commercial hyperloop system, HyperloopTT are now set to make the concept a reality. “We are bringing the future of rapid transportation technology to all those living in the UAE,” said HyperloopTT Chairman Bibop Gresta, who co-founded the firm in 2013 through a crowdsourcing model.Abu Dhabi to Dubai hyperloop to begin construction by end of next year“Today's announcement is a testament to the continued commitment and determination of all our partners, both within the UAE and abroad,” Gresta continued. “As we move forward with the system we invite other interested organisations in the region and around the world to join us in making history.” Since its founding, HyperloopTT has grown to a team of more than 800 expert collaborators from around the world.

Newly joining HyperloopTT in the pioneering Abu Dhabi to Dubai project are regional engineering and design leaders Dar Al-Handasah, on board as project and design lead, together with fellow Dar Group engineering firms T.Y. Lin International of the US and Spain’s GPO Group, Perkins+Will (US) as architects, and the UK-based construction assets management consultancy Currie & Brown.

“With today's announcement of the appointment of Dar Al-Handasah, Perkins and Wills, and Currie and Brown, we have achieved a significant milestone towards the construction of the world's first commercial Hyperloop system in Alghadeer,” said HyperloopTT CEO and co-founder Dirk Ahlborn. “We are looking forward to working with all of our regional stakeholders to build this historic piece of transportation infrastructure.”

Described by the Dar Group as a ‘project that will forever redefine the transportation sector in the Middle East region and beyond,’ the firm’s Chairman and CEO Talal Shair commented; “We are extremely honoured to be part of this global movement in mobility and rapid transportation and are looking forward to collaborating with HyperloopTT to deliver a truly iconic project in Abu Dhabi.”