The government had originally tendered the Riyals 26bn ($US 6.93bn)
project as a 50-year build-own-operate-transfer concession and in April
2008 selected the Tarabot consortium of seven Saudi companies and
Asciano, Australia as its preferred bidder, but the deal was never
concluded. The project will now be funded by the state through the
Public Investment Fund.

The Landbridge will consist of a 950km line from Jeddah to As Suq and
Riyadh, with a 115km link between the Gulf ports of Dammam and Jubail.
Trains will use the existing Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) line
between Riyadh and Dammam, which will be upgraded to accommodate
increased levels of traffic.

Transit times between Jeddah and Dammam will be around 18 hours,
compared with the current sea voyage of 5-7 days, and the line is
expected to carry around 8 million tonnes of freight per year.
Passenger trains will operate at up to 220km/h with a Jeddah - Riyadh
journey time of around six hours. The bus journey between the two
cities currently takes 10-12 hours.