SAUDI Arabia Railways (SAR) has issued a call for expressions of interest for a contract to supply 25 mainline locomotives, including options for additional locomotives, and a second for the design, manufacture and supply of up to 900 tank wagons.

The locomotives are primarily to be used to haul tank wagons, with the performance target being the ability to haul up to 140 tank wagons using four locomotives operating in multiple.

In line with the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, continued rail growth in the country has led to a requirement for additional freight rolling stock and, as a result, SAR will be increasing its locomotive fleet to support expanding demand both in the country and in the wider region.

As SAR is actively working on enhancing local content and manufacturing, it says it will give preference to proposals from suppliers which include a plan to assemble, repair and overhaul locomotives in Saudi Arabia, making this requirement a significant part of the assessment process. Suppliers submitting tenders will also be requested to incorporate a long-term maintenance contract for the locomotive fleet. The terms and length of the maintenance agreement will be agreed at the contract stage.

SAR freight locomotives working in multiple with a train of oil tank wagons. Photo credit: IRJ

The locomotive contract is expected to be awarded to the preferred supplier in the fourth quarter of this year, with the result of the tendering process possibly being announced as soon as June. Delivery of the first batch of locomotives is expected in the first quarter of 2026.

The new tank wagons will be used to transport molten sulphur and merchant grade acid. Under Vision 2030, SAR will be meeting recent growth in the freight demand by increasing its wagon fleet to 10,000 vehicles by 2030.

As with the locomotive tender, bidders will be required to submit proposals for building and assembling the wagons in Saudi Arabia and to include a long-term maintenance agreement to be agreed at the contract stage.

The results of the tendering process will be announced this summer and delivery of the new fleet is expected to start in early 2026.

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