The Saudi Railways Organization has invited bids for work on the second section of the planned $1.4bn Mecca and Medina rail line.

The organisation has asked six pre-qualified international consortiums to prepare their bids for the work that includes operations, signalling and maintenance of the section.

The section is part of the $7bn 300kmph high-speed railway project to connect Mecca with Medina via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

The SAR6.9bn (approximately $1.8bn) contract for the first section was awarded in March 2009.

The contract was won by the Al-Rajhi Alliance led by the country’s Mada and Al Rajhi groups, along with China Railway Engineering Corporation and France’s Alstom Transport.

The third section of the project is planned to be put to tender before the end of 2009.