Design has so far only been completed for lines 1 and 2 which have an estimated cost of Riyals 17bn ($US 4.5bn).

Companies that prequalify by June 20 will be invited to bid on July 20 with submissions due by the end of October. ADA plans to award the contract in mid-January 2013, and the first section of the light metro must open by the end of 2016.

The metro will include a mixture of underground, at grade and elevated construction. Line 1 will be 24km long, Line 2 26km and Line 3 42km. A fleet of 50 two-car trains will be required for lines 1 and 2 which will each have a capacity of 5000 passengers/hour/direction. Phase 2 will add another three lines to the network, but the alignment for these lines has not been defined yet.

According to Mr Cyril Baligand, project engineer with Egis Rail, France, under Saudi law the maintenance option would require the involvement of local staff, and would include training, knowledge transfer, and possibly the establishment of a rolling stock assembly plant in Riyadh that would later evolve into the maintenance facility for the metro.