By Othman Al-Shallash
BURAIDAH – The Northern Railway linking Qurayyat with Riyadh is scheduled to start experimental operation in two months. The railway will pass through five stations including the one in Aseelan, east of Buraidah, but the approach road to the train station in the town is yet to be built.
People say that they have to ride on camels to cross a 300-meter sandy track to reach the train station. Experimental operation of the railway was scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2017.
“We want the Transport Ministry or Buraidah municipality to construct the road to link Aseelan station with the main road connecting Buraidah with Asyah,” said Sulaiman Al-Muhaimeed, a resident of the town.
“The area surrounding Aseelan station is not yet ready for the project launch, although Saudi Arabian Railway (SAR) has said the experimental operation would start in the first quarter of this year,” he said while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He said the Buraidah-Asyah Road and Aseelan station are separated by sandy mountains. “People will not be able to cross this distance except on a camel. We cannot understand the reason for this long delay in constructing a paved road to the station,” he added.
Khaled Al-Tuwaijri said the unpaved path to the station would give the impression that the railway would not be launched in the near future. “We will only see the station’s passenger lounge,” he said.
“We don’t know how the station would operate and how passengers would reach the station. Where is the Transport Ministry and Qassim municipality to solve this puzzle? Tents erected around the station also give a bad impression,” he explained.
Saleh Bin Ghadir Al-Tuwaijri urged the authorities to construct a paved road to link the railway station with Buraidah and surrounding villages. “The station will pay a big role in transporting agricultural crops and industrial products from the region to other parts of the country,” he added.
Al-Tuwaijri said he could not understand the reason for the delay in constructing the approach road. “The station is 300 meters away from Qassim-Asyah Road. They should have constructed this link road before starting the railway station project four years ago,” he said.
He added: “This shows a lack of coordination between the various government departments.” He criticized SAR for announcing plans to conduct an experimental operation of the railway before constructing the approach road to Aseelan station.