RIYADH — A train traveling from Dammam to Riyadh Wednesday went off the track, injuring more than 35 passengers, a senior official said. One passenger sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to the capital for treatment, he said.
Hamad Abdel Qader, deputy chief of operations at the Saudi Railways Organization, said the train with 332 passengers on board derailed 70 km east of Riyadh.
The train was traveling along the country’s only passenger rail link, some 400 km long, that connects Riyadh and Dammam.
Another SRO official, Mohammed Yasin Bo Hulaiqah, said the train’s locomotive and three carriages turned over.
Passengers continued their journey on another train provided by the authorities, the official said.
Captain Muhammad Al-Hamadi, Civil Defense spokesman, said several rescuers and ambulances rushed to the site and moved the injured to various nearby hospitals.
Safety specifications of trains in the Kingdom leave much to be desired. Many have expressed their apprehension about the safety of trains, especially since the development of rail travel in the Kingdom is of key importance.
Recently, the SRO cast doubt on the future of its deal with CAF for 200km/h diesel trains following a series of malfunctions just weeks after the first five trains entered service.
Two of the five trains suffered from repeated technical defects and that SRO was forced to withdraw all five “to safeguard the rights of the SRO as well as the safety of passengers.”