Part of the Riyadh Public Transport Project (RPTP), the Riyadh metro is a rapid transit system under construction in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The RPTP will be the largest public transport project, comprising construction of a metro network, a bus system and other transport services in Riyadh.

Construction of the Riyadh metro began in April 2014, while tunnelling work on Line 1 started in July 2015. The line is due to open in 2018.

Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) is the owner and operator of Riyadh metro. The project will have an execution period of five years and an optional maintenance service period for the next ten years. It is expected to create more than 15,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh had a population of 5.7 million in 2012, which is predicted to increase to eight million by 2030. The new metro system is expected to fulfil the demands of the growing population, as well as reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

Riyadh metro project history

The RPTP’s plan was developed by the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh. The plan received approval from the Riyadh Council of Ministers in April 2012.

The RPTP project will also include construction of a bus network. The bus network will be an 85km three-line Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) network, which will connect major locations in Riyadh. All metro stations will be integrated with the bus network.

Lines and routes of the Saudi Arabian transport project

“Riyadh had a population of 5.7 million in 2012, which is predicted to increase to eight million by 2030.”

Riyadh metro will be 178km-long with six lines and 85 stations, including underground, elevated and at-grade sections. Line 1, the Blue Line will run from Olaya Street to Al Hayer Road. It will be 44km-long and will cover 39 stations.

The Green Line, or Line 2, will connect King Abdullah Road to the King Fahad Stadum. It will have 14 stations and be 22km long.

The longest line of the metro will be the 45km-long Line 3, or Red Line, which will run from Madina Al Munawra to Rahman Al Awal Road.

Line 4, the Orange Line, will run from the King Khaled International Airport to the new King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), and Line 5, the Yellow Line, will start from the King Abdul Aziz Road. The Yellow Line will be 26km-long and have 26 stations.

Line 6, the Purple Line, will connect Abdul Rahman bin Ouf Street to the Shaikh Hassan bin Hussain bin Ali Street. It will be 30km-long and will feature nine stations.

Major stations of Riyadh’s public transport project

ADA selected three architecture firms to design and build three major stations of the system, namely the Olaya Metro Station, the Downtown Metro Station and the King Abdullah Financial District Metro Station.

“The Riyadh metro will be 178km-long with six lines and 85 stations, which includes underground, elevated and at-grade sections.”

Gerber Architekten designed the Olaya Metro Station. The station will be located at the intersection of lines 1 and 2 and will feature a public plaza, a large entrance hall, and an open concourse. The station will have a gross floor area of 68.85m² and a gross volume of 387m³. ADA is expected to invest $20m in the station.

Snohetta designed the Downtown station (Qasr Al Hokm). The station is being constructed between the Al Madinah Al Munnawarah Street and King Faisal Street. The station will act as a transport hub for lines 1 and 3.

Zaha Hadid was selected to design and build King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Metro Station. The station is located at the east of the Northern Ring Road and slightly west of the King Fahad Road. It will serve lines 1, 4 and 6.

Renewable energy will be used to provide power for all the metro stations.

Contractors involved with the Riyadh metro project

ADA awarded the design and construction contract of the Riyadh metro to three consortiums BACS, ANM and FAST, in August 2013.

The BACS consortium includes Bechtel, Almabani General Contractors, Consolidated Contractors Company and Siemens. The consortium is led by Bechtel and will design and construct lines 1 and 2 under a $9.4bn contract. It will also be responsible for the train cars, signalling, electrification and integration of the lines to the metro network.

ANM’s $5.2bn contract includes construction of Line 3 of the metro, Qasr Al Hokom station and Western Station. The ArRiyadh New Mobility (ANM) consortium includes Ansaldo STS, Salini-Impregilo, Larsen & Toubro, Nesma and Bombardier. Larsen & Toubro and Nesma is providing civil works services, Bombardier is responsible for the procurement of the vehicles.

Ansaldo STS will provide technology support services for Line 3. It will also provide signalling support services, automation train control (ATC) and communication-based train control (CBTC), as well as other telecommunication services. The contract value for Ansaldo STS is $680m with an option to add $249m for maintenance of Line 3 for the next ten years.

Led by FCC Construccion, FAST received a $7.9bn contract to construct and design lines 4, 5 and 6 of the metro. The consortium includes FCC Construccion, Samsung, Alstom, Strukton, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Typsa and Setec. The contract includes construction of 64.6km of rail track, 29.8km of viaducts, 26.6km of underground track and 8.2km of overground track.

Underground tunnels are being built with the help of three tunnel boring machines (TBM). The tunnels  have a 10m-diameter to facilitate the three metro lines. The $7.9bn is being financed through the Public Investment Fund of the Government of Saudi Arabia.

Alstom is providing its automated driverless metro system for the metro project under a $1.5bn (€1.2bn) contract.

In August 2013, a joint venture of Louis Berger and Hill International was awarded a $265m contract to offer project and construction management services for lines 4, 5 and 6 and associated stations and tunnels. A joint venture of Egis, Parsons and Systra received a €425m ($563m) project management contract for lines 1, 2 and 3.

L&T Construction won a $161.37m contract to design and construct ballastless tracks for lines 1 and 2. Indra received a €266m ($320m) ticketing and access control technology contract for the Riyadh metro in January 2015.

Ansaldo STS was awarded a $2.9bn contract by ADA in September 2018 to provide its operation and maintenance services for a period of 12 years for lines 3, 4, 5 and 6.

The FCC Industrial Division was awarded a $332m contract to provide its electromechanical installation of services for the Green and Purple Lines of the Riyadh metro in July 2016. The contract included lighting, ventilation, fire-fighting and air conditioning systems on the two metro lines.

Capital Metro Company (CAMCO) was awarded a 12-year contract by ADA to provide its operations and maintenance (O&M) services for lines 1 and 2 in September 2018. The contract includes the delivery of security, passenger assistance, facility management services.

Rolling stock for the metro system in Riyadh

Alstom is providing 69 metro trains for the Riyadh metro project. It will also supply its Urbalis signalling system, a train braking, energy-recovery system called HESOP, and Appitrack, a new technology to install tracks faster.

The metro trains will be operated in automated mode. Each train will have two cars. The driverless metro train will be 36m-long and 2.71m-wide.

Bombardier Transportation built 47 INNOVIA Metro 300 trains sets in Mexico, and the trains are being shipped by DHL to Riyadh. The driverless trains aim to provide a comfortable and convenient riding experience for passengers.

Siemens is providing 67 Inspiro type metro vehicles for lines 1 and 2 with two to four cars each, suitable for operation in adverse climatic conditions.

In June 2018, Alstom began conducting initial dynamic tests for the Riyadh metro project. The test involves performance testing of the railway system using the previously delivered trains.

Related content

Haramain High-Speed Rail Project, Saudi Arabia

The Haramain High-Speed Rail Project, announced by the Saudi Railway Organization, involves a 450km rail link between Makkah (Mecca) and Madinah.

Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Project, Saudi Arabia

The Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line project in Makkah (Mecca) saw a 18.1km line constructed to connect the holy cities of Mecca, Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina.