RZD Wins Saudi Railway Contract

Russian Railways has won an $800 million contract in Saudi Arabia to lay new track that includes 20 camel crossings, the state-run company said in a statement Monday.

Russian Railways, or RZD, won the tender to build a 520-kilometer rail line from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to the Zabira junction, part of a drive by the world's largest oil exporter to improve cargo and passenger travel inside the country.

The rail link is one of four sections of the 2,400-kilometer North-South route intended to allow Saudi Arabia to develop phosphate and bauxite deposits near its northern border. The North-South route will cost $2 billion and is scheduled for completion in 2011.

The Saudi announcement follows hot on the heels of another tender victory for RZD. On Wednesday, the Armenian government announced that RZD had won a contract to manage the country's railway network for the next 30 years.

According to the company's preliminary investment plan, RZD will invest $400 million in building up Armenia's rail infrastructure over the period and $170 million in renovating the country's rolling stock. The plan could eventually see Armenia linked by rail to neighboring Iran, Russian media reported.