The idea of constructing a railway line in Saudi Arabia was first introduced in the mid 1940s, when a need became apparent for a port on the Gulf coast to handle materials dispatched to The Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco). Such goods had to be conveyed inland from the port to the company’s warehouses in Dhahran.
The idea provided by Aramco for establishing a railway from Dammam to Riyadh included the construction of a large commercial port able to receive the ships carrying the needs and equipments of the oil industry as well as the immense benefits of this port to the national economy.
The idea of constructing such a railway line was presented to the late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud who approved the project and instructed the line to be extended to Riyadh. Construction work commenced in September 1947 and on the 20th of October 1951, the line was officially inaugurated by His Majesty, King Abdul Aziz.
In the beginning, the railway line was run by Aramco, but it was subsequently entrusted to the Ministry of Finance, at which time it was known as the Railway Department.
On the 13th of May, 1966, a Royal Decree was issued establishing the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) as a public corporation having full legal status. A Board of Directors was appointed to lead the Organization on commercial principles.
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