RCU announces detailed plans to develop tram project covering AlUla landmarks

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  • Mobility firm SYSTRA will complete design studies in 2023, with tram cars resembling those of the historic Hijaz Railway
  • A low-carbon, experiential system will stop at some of AlUla’s most important landmarks and landmarks, with stations serving as public transport hubs for surrounding areas
  • The light rail network will be developed in two phases covering over 50 km from Hegra in the north to AlUla International Airport in the south

AlUla, Saudi Arabia: The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced plans to develop a new light rail system linking all of AlUla County’s most important monuments, archaeological sites, tourist destinations, urban areas and transportation infrastructure.

The first phase of the system will be designed by the international mobility company SYSTRA, which will take care of the integration of the systems and the design of the rolling stock resembling the wagons of the historic Hijaz railway.

Once its two phases are completed, the tram network will extend over more than 50 km.

Passengers will enjoy a comfortable ride in modern and prestigious trams traveling along a reinterpretation of the ancient Hijaz line, which ran through the AlUla Valley while transporting passengers from Damascus in Syria to Medina in Arabia Arabia. Serving visitors and residents, the new line will reflect AlUla’s recent history as an important stopping point for pilgrims with its ongoing ambitions to be a global destination for tourism and the largest living museum in the world. world.

Developed as a state-of-the-art low-carbon public transport solution, the first phase of the project will run from the historic AlUla Central Hijaz Railway Station to Hegra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the north .

Connecting major tourist areas and important archaeological sites, the northern ‘red’ line will provide easy links to key sites highlighted as part of RCU’s Journey Through Time comprehensive route plan and vision to promote and to protect the heritage sites of AlUla.

At 21 km in length, this section will act as a catalyst for future developments, with stations to be built at Hegra South, Equestrian Village North and Equestrian Village South, Nabataean Farms, Al Uthayb, the Incense Museum, Jabal Ikmah, Tal Al Khatib, Dadan North, Dadan Village and Dadan, Al Jadidah, Old Town, AlUla Central East and AlUla Hijaz.

Each station will be designed as a hub for alternative transportation services such as personal bicycles, e-bikes, on-demand electric vehicles as well as other options available to the local community.

The second phase of the tram will extend to southern AlUla County with an additional 33 km of track to the international airport, further enhancing AlUla’s development as a major regional transportation hub.

A major infrastructure project that will cross urban and rural areas, RCU will work closely with SYSTRA and specialist contractors to divert traffic where the tram crosses main roads. Some routes, such as Oasis Scenic Road in AlUla, will be remodeled to accommodate the light rail.

SYSTRA will begin its design work this year for delivery in 2023. In its capacity as Lead Tram Design Consultant, SYSTRA will carry out the preliminary design and detailed studies of the project in the areas of infrastructure, landscape and architecture, stations, workshop/ depot, track in addition to managing the integrity of rolling stock and systems development.

The AlUla tram, with a maximum speed of 50 km/h, will be the latest low-impact public transport initiative developed by RCU to reduce people’s reliance on personal cars or diesel buses. Introduced earlier this year in the Old Town, a self-driving pod service has proven to be a hit with locals and visitors alike. Plans are being developed for a county-wide public transportation network under the 360 ​​Mobility program.

The tram, self-driving pods and a growing network of electric buses, bike lanes and alternative transport options will significantly reduce traffic in and around AlUla while increasing connectivity and reducing harmful emissions, all in accordance with RCU’s commitment to make the AlUla network carbon neutral. by 2035 for local emissions, excluding air transport and food imports.

Following the success of the pods’ self-driving shuttle service, which regularly transports residents, shop and restaurant staff, and visitors, the light rail is expected to be a popular addition to AlUla’s development as a tourist hotspot and modern destination. alive.

As lead designer and international project partner, SYSTRA officially signed a contract with RCU management at the company’s London office on 1 July.

Moataz Kurdi, RCU County Operations Manager, said, “The new light rail service is an exciting development that will greatly enhance AlUla’s continued growth. Modern, efficient and accessible public transport is a key part of the Royal Commission for AlUla’s plans to transform AlUla into a global destination for sustainable tourism and improving the quality of life. The low-emission service will follow a carefully planned rail line linking key tourist and heritage sites in AlUla, as outlined in our Journey Through Time project route, allowing people to move freely and easily without the need for buses or personal cars.

“AlUla’s rich heritage is the foundation on which our future achievements are built. As such, great care and attention was given to the design of the trams to reflect the rolling stock that ran along the old Hijaz railway line in the early 20th century. Fully updated with modern equipment and technology, the new trams will operate as part of an integrated and enabled network of low-impact, easy-to-use public transportation that provides unimpeded access across AlUla County.

“Created to be an experience as much as a means of getting around, passengers will enjoy incredible views of the surrounding landscape, growing urban developments, world-renowned cultural sites and heritage areas with ease and comfort. .”

Belal Deiranieh, Managing Director of SYSTRA in Saudi Arabia, declared: “We are honored to work alongside the Royal Commission for AlUla to design a tram system that aligns with RCU’s vision and offers passengers a unique and immersive experience, at the heart of this remarkable cultural and heritage destination, while taking into account innovation, the environment and RCU’s low carbon initiative We look forward to mobilizing our global expertise and local know-how and beginning the journey with RCU.

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For media inquiries, please contact the RCU Public Relations team at [email protected]

About the Royal Commission for AlUla

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) was established by Royal Decree in July 2017 to preserve and develop AlUla, an area of ​​outstanding natural and cultural significance in northwestern Saudi Arabia. RCU’s long-term plan outlines a responsible, sustainable and sensitive approach to urban and economic development that preserves the region’s natural and historic heritage, while making AlUla a desirable place to live, work and visit. This encompasses a wide range of initiatives in the fields of archaeology, tourism, culture, education and the arts, reflecting a commitment to address the priorities of economic diversification, empowerment of local communities and preservation of the heritage of the Vision 2030 program of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

About SYSTRA

SYSTRA is one of the world’s leading engineering and consulting groups specializing in public transport and mobility solutions. Backed by unique experience acquired on tramway projects around the world, SYSTRA offers the most efficient and innovative solutions, in compliance with international standards and local requirements in terms of the environment and safety. SYSTRA has been working with Saudi Arabia since 1987 to create transport networks throughout the country, notably in Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina and Mecca, and is now fully mobilized to meet the ambitions of the government’s Vision 2030 development plan Saudi Arabia and remain a leading partner of the Saudi authorities in the field of mobility. SYSTRA has also participated in the development of tramway networks in the Middle East, in Dubai for example with the Al-Sufouh tramway project, and in Qatar with the Lusail tramway project.

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