It seems there is nearly nothing iconic left in the rest of the world that doesn’t or won’t exist in Saudi Arabia. From a year-round ski village to an insanely ambitious linear city called The Line to OTT airports and gravity-defying skyscrapers, it is all in the pipeline. Still, it sounds like something is amiss. Perhaps adding a luxury train will complete this oasis of opulence perfectly. With that thought in mind, Saudi Arabia is set to host the Middle East’s first luxury train, adding yet another jewel to the ever-glistening and growing crown of Saudi Arabia. National Railways has signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy’s Arsenale Group. The agreement was signed by SAR’s chief executive officer, Bashar Al-Malik, and Arsenale Group chairman, Paolo Barletta.
The ‘Dream of the Desert’ luxury train will service from Riyadh to Qurayyat in 2025. Passengers will enjoy the natural beauty and habitat exclusive to Saudi Arabia. Along the way, the luxury train will cross AlUla, an ancient oasis city in Medina province.
The train will set Saudi Arabia back by $51 million as the train manufacturing cost, a mere drop in the unending ocean of wealth found in the region. “The signing of this MoU between SAR and Arsenale is to be considered a first step towards the introduction of a new offer within the tourism market with an experience of luxury travel by train,” said SAR’s CEO Dr. Bashar bin Khaled Al Malik.
In a release, the Saudi Press Agency said: “The agreement reflects SAR’s commitment to promoting tourism and cultural affairs in the Kingdom and aims to boost national tourism goals. The luxury train will offer visitors and residents of the Kingdom a unique opportunity to explore a range of tourist attractions within a framework of integrated luxury transportation services.”
Earlier this month, Saudi Crown prince MBS announced a new national airline with the ambition of making it bigger than the legendary airline, Emirates.