kiha40 wrote:Sam, interesting outlook on engaging in such work in that region.
George, my comment wasn't meant to be nasty, but here in Japan, I've never heard of mechanical failures affecting the operation of the railways. Jumpers, sure; the Japanese have a disturbing proclivity towards suicide--but busted hardware, no.
I think Bombardier has a good record in Europe.
Conditions in the Hejaz would be quite extreme. Inland the temperatures are high and the atmosphere very dry with plenty of sand in the air. Near the coast humidity can be very high - as one comes down the road from Taif to Jeddah one meets the humid air like a wall. Obviously trains would need fierce air conditioning to cope with the humidity and to filter out the dust.
I suppose they would build something like a diesel TGV. I don't know what existing models there are for these. In Britain we have had good service from the HST 125s which consistently run the fastest diesel services for about 30 years. To go faster with diesel might be a problem.
I would think that electrification in the Hejaz would be difficult. Sand blasting the overhead would be a serious problem.
I have travelled in Saudi on the train from Dammam to Hofuf, which is not at all high speed. It was quite a nice little trip. I came back by bus.
The Wahabi have now accepted much of the modern world and so would not obstruct a rail line, as long as there are women only carriages.