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The 460km long Haramain High Speed Rail link represents one of the most important transport projects in the expansion programme of the Saudi railway network.

For the first time, it connects Islam’s holy cities of Medinah and Mecca. Around three million people performed the Hajj pilgrimage in 2011, for whom this rail link is designed to transport.


UK involvement in the project includes the design of the stations by British architects in a joint-venture between Foster & Partners and Buro Happold.

Commissioned by Saudi Bin Ladin Group, in consortium with Yapi Merkezi and on behalf of Saudi Railways Organisation, our brief was to supply and install surface water and sustainable drainage systems. Construction took place from 2009 to 2013 and the railway begins operations in 2014.

The main objective of the circa US$11 billion programme is to enable holy pilgrimages and local Saudi tourists to travel with ease between the country’s primary destinations and conurbations, relieving pressure on busy roads connecting Mecca and Medinah.

Medinah Station, together with four other ultra-modern stations, will be capable of handling around 60 million passengers per year currently and circa 135 million by 2042.

SDS Case Studies Medinah Station


SDS was required to provide a solution to sudden and dramatic rainfall that generates substantial volumes of surface water in a small amount of time.

Having challenged the client’s original intention to install one large concrete tank, both expensive to build and complex to install, SDS demonstrated that its geocellular tanks could exceed the engineering expectations of the system, while delivering substantial cost savings. Approvals were awarded by the multiple contracting organisations.

Three bespoke GEOlight® attenuation tanks, providing 3,000m3 combined capacity of surface and roof water runoff, were installed.


In fulfilling the advantages of its “turnkey” service, SDS project managers worked alongside local labourers in high ambient temperatures to ensure the tanks were installed to the timescales required by the contract.

This project has led to further opportunities in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for similar large-scale transportation projects, including the extension of the High-Speed Railway into Turkey as it expands its route westwards across Europe.


kilometres long Haramain High Speed Rail link


million litres combined storage capacity


SDS GEOlight® attenuation tanks
SDS GEOlight Stormwater Storage

SDS GEOlight®

SDS GEOlight® is an ultra-lightweight honeycombed modular structure, the ready to install units are preformed to provide an underground stormwater storage facility, for the application of stromwater management.

SDS GEOlight® is an ideal material for cost efficient and maintainable underground water storage during storm conditions. It is constructed entirely from post-consumer recycled PVC waste, which is normally destined for landfill.

It can also be applied in many different ways, including water recycling, water pollution control and embankment protection.


Discover how the SDS portfolio can benefit your development and get in touch now.