Tata Steel has won an order to manufacture 60,000 tonnes of high-quality rail for a new high-speed line linking the two holy cities of Mecca Medina in Saudi Arabia. The new Railway will allow millions of pilgrims to travel 444 km between the two cities at speeds of 320 km per hour. Steel for the project will be made at Tata Steel’s Scunthorpe plant before being rolled into rail in lengths of 25 metres. Work on producing the rail will start at the end of this year and is expected to continue throughout 2014. Gerard Glas, rail sector head, Tata Steel, said the company would contribute to this high-speed line which will have to overcome some major challenges in one of the most extreme terrains in the world. Tata Steel rail has already undertaken projects in similar challenging conditions in Brazil and Mauritania. The new line is expected to carry around 160,000 people a day — and even more during the Hajj pilgrimage.
They will be transported on a fleet of 35 new high-speed trains. Started in 2009, the project cost is estimated at €12 billion (about Rs 98,400 crore). The new rail line is set to open to the public in late 2014 or early 2015. Besides the two holy cities, the line will have three other stops, two in Jeddah for commuters and one in Saudi Arabia’s new King Abdullah Economic City, a residential, industrial and commercial macro-complex that is still being built.
– Hindu Business Line