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Saudi Arabia Railways Signs Agreement with Arsenale for Luxury Train

image courtesy of SAR
Written by Mario Masciullo

Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and Arsenale S.p.A. (Orient Express and La Dolce Vita Group) signed an agreement for the construction of the first luxury train called “Dream of the Desert” which will cross the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the end of 2025.

After the agreements were established by the Memorandum of Understanding signed last March 15 between SAR and Arsenale, Bashar bin Khalid Al Malik, CEO of SAR, and Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale, in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Transport and Logistics Services, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR), Engineer Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, signed documents officially welcoming Dream of the Desert as a new luxury train project in the Kingdom.

From the capital of Riyadh to Qurayyat, on the northern border with Jordan, Dream of the Desert will travel with 40 luxury cabins made in Italy from the splendid desert landscapes to the greenest area of the country, in the northern territories, passing through the city of Hail and its architectural monuments built on the mountains.

This innovative and revolutionary project will ensure the expansion of the Saudi tourism market.

Railways have a long history in Saudi Arabia, having been present for over 70 years. As far as Italy is concerned, this project evokes a new protagonism of the Bel Paese in the railway sector. Arsenale, an Italian company active in the luxury hospitality sector, has already started the restyling phases of the carriages, which will be built at the specialized CPL factories in Brindisi. Reservations will open from the end of the current year.

Dream of the Desert will be fully customized and inspired by Saudi style and tradition. The production, the workforce, the quality of on-board services, the interior design, and the know-how will be strictly made in Italy.

In agreement with SAR, this partnership is part of Saudi Arabian Railways’ commitment to achieving the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services in which the development of the tourism and cultural sector is one of the most important targets.

Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, CEO of SAR, highlighted the pioneering role of the Saudi Arabian Railway Company in implementing strategic initiatives linked to the National Vision on Transport and Logistics Services (NTLS), also noting that Dream of the Desert will represent a great opportunity for the company, as it adds an important tourism and entertainment option to the list of services provided to its customers. Finally, it will give tourists and residents of the Kingdom the opportunity to discover other regions in an exclusive and integrated context of luxury transport services.

Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale, commented: “We are grateful for the opportunity to strengthen Arsenale’s international presence with the arrival of the first luxury train in Saudi Arabia. I would like to express my gratitude to His Excellency Saleh Al Jasser and SAR CEO Bashar bin Khalid Al Malik, who readily embraced and believed in this project. Heartfelt thanks also go to all the authorities and stakeholders in the tourism sector who supported us in realizing our vision. The first stages of production of Dream of the Desert carriages have recently begun in Italy, and we look forward to our first train debuting in the Kingdom in the coming years.”