FAST TBM reaches second Riyadh Metro station early

Spanish-led FAST Consortium beats its own tunnelling schedule on Line 5 of the Riyadh Metro project

FAST workers stand inside the cutting head of the San'ah TBM after its first breakthrough.
FAST workers stand inside the cutting head of the San'ah TBM after its first breakthrough.


The Spanish-led FAST Consortium working on Lines 4, 5 and 6 of the Riyadh Metro project for the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) has celebrated the breakthrough of the San’ah tunnel boring machine (TBM) at the second station along King Abdel-Aziz Road.

The San’ah TBM machine has now completed 3.1km (ahead of schedule) of its designated 4.9km of tunnelling on the 13km Line 5 (Green Line), which is being worked on by two 109m-long, 19m-wide Herrenknecht TBMs, each weighing in at 2,000t.

At 63km, Package 3 is the largest in terms of length. FAST consortium first broke ground on the tunnelling component of Line 5 of the metro project when it started tunnelling work in April last year, and completed its first 1.2km stretch on 4 October.

Ahmed Aldrees, ADA’s project manager for Package 3, said: “Collaboration is key, and we believe that the ADA and FAST have a strong partnership and are achieving timely results and performance in building the world’s largest public transit system. This breakthrough is an excellent example.”

He explained that the arrival of the machine at the second station on 11 February ahead of the tunnelling excavation schedule marks a major milestone as the consortium.

Adrees continued: “San’ah will continue to drill the northern section of Line 5 until it reaches the Riyadh Airbase Roundabout, where it will meet our second tunnel being excavated by Dafrah TBM – the first TBM to start drilling on the project.”

FAST is one of three consortiums contracted by ADA on the Riyadh Metro project and includes Spanish construction group FCC, Samsung C&T, Alstom, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Atkins, Typsa of Spain, Setec of France and Strukton of The Netherlands.

In November, Alstom also announced it had started production of the 69 trainsets for Package 3 of the Riyadh Metro in its Katowice plant in Poland. The 36m-long driverless units will be delivered to ADA in 2017.

Riyadh is home to six million people and, when complete, the $22bn, 176km-long Riyadh Metro will serve 400,000 passengers. The package awarded to the FAST Consortium is worth $7.82bn.

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