The Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) has signed UK group Scott Wilson to provide project management support for the Haramain high-speed rail project.

The project involves building a 440km-long 320km/h railway connecting the cities of Makkah, Jeddah, the new King Abdullah Economic City and Medina, as well as the International Airport in Jeddah.

Under the £14.5m ($23.2m) five-year deal, the company will provide technical, specialist engineering and programme management support services to the SRO.

According to the company, the project is the first high-speed rail programme in the Middle East. It will provide fast and safe transport for pilgrims to the Holy Cities and serve as a good public transport link between the country’s fast-growing and economically active commercial centres.