Plans for new tram system in Saudi Arabia's AlUla announced
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Plans for new tram system in AlUla announced

Plans for new tram system in AlUla announced

The tram is expected to boost AlUla’s development as a tourist hotspot and modern living destination and will complement the existing autonomous pods shuttle service

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AlUla-Low-Carbon-Tram project announced

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has announced plans to develop a new tram system connecting all of AlUla county’s most important landmarks, archaeological sites, tourist destinations, urban areas and transport infrastructure.

Servicing 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 world’s largest living museum.

The first phase of the system will be designed by the international mobility firm Systra, which will handle systems integration and the design of rolling stock resembling carriages from the historic Hijaz railway.

The tram network will stretch for more than 50 kilometres upon the completion of the two-phased project.

Passengers will be able to enjoy a comfortable ride in modern tram cars travelling along a reinterpretation of the former Hijaz line, which passed through the AlUla valley while transporting passengers from Damascus in Syria to Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Developed as a state-of-the-art low-carbon public transport solution, phase one 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 core locations highlighted as part of RCU’s comprehensive ‘Journey Through Time’ route plan and its vision to promote and protect AlUla’s heritage landmarks.

At 21km in length, this section will see stations constructed 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 transport services such as personal cycles, e-bikes, on-demand electric vehicles as well as other options that can be accessed by the local community.

The second phase of the tram will extend to the south of AlUla county, with an additional 33 kilometres of track running all the way to the international airport, further strengthening AlUla’s development as an important regional transport centre.

Read: Flydubai to begin flights to AlUla and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia

A major infrastructure project that will run through urban and rural areas, RCU will work closely with Systra and specialist contractors to divert traffic in places where the tram intersects with main roads. Some routes, such as Oasis Scenic Road in AlUla, will be remodelled to accommodate the tram.

Systra will begin its design work this year with completion in 2023.

The AlUla tram will be the latest low-impact public transport initiative developed by RCU to reduce people’s dependency on personal cars or diesel buses. Introduced earlier this year in the Old Town, an autonomous pods service has proved to be a success with residents and visitors. Plans are being drawn up for a county-wide public transport network under the 360 Mobility programme.

Read:  Saudi’s Royal Commission for AlUla launches autonomous pod vehicle service

The tram, autonomous pods and a growing network of electric buses, cycle paths and alternative transport options will greatly cut down on traffic in and around AlUla while increasing connectivity and reducing harmful emissions, all in line with RCU’s commitment to make AlUla net carbon-neutral by 2035 for local emissions, excluding air travel and food imports.

Read: Saudi Arabia: How AlUla’s development reverberates a message of inclusion, sustainability and culture

Moataz Kurdi, RCU’s chief county operations officer, said: “The new tram service is an exciting development that will greatly empower AlUla’s continuous growth. Modern, efficient, and accessible public transport is a key component of the Royal Commission for AlUla’s plans to transform AlUla into a global destination for sustainable tourism and enhanced liveability. The low-emission service will follow a carefully planned rail line connecting AlUla’s main tourist and heritage sites, as outlined in our ‘Journey Through Time’ project route, allowing people to move freely and easily without the need to rely on buses or personal cars.

“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, cultural sites, and world-famous heritage areas in complete ease and comfort.”

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