First tunnel boring machine starts drilling on the Riyadh Metro Line

01 May 2015

Prince Faisal bin Bandar, Governor of Riyadh, started the first of two FAST Consortium tunnel boring machines which will be used on the Riyadh Metro Green Line yesterday on April 30th. This tunnel boring machine is the first of seven that will eventually be put into service constructing the entire Riyadh Metro system.

The tunnel boring machine, named Dhafrah, started boring on the 12.9km tunnel between Riyadh Airbase and King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre. The Green Line features eleven stations and two endpoint transfer stations with the Blue and Red lines. FAST Consortium is also responsible for the Yellow and Purple lines. When the entire metro system is complete in 2018, it will contain 176 km of track and 85 stations.

Named through public competition

Dhafrah, meaning “Victory” in Arabic, was named through a public competition with thousands of entries. The tunnel boring machine is expected to drill at an average rate of 75 to 100m per week, installing precast concrete segments as rings which form the tunnel lining as it moves forward.

Installation of the tunnel boring machine Dhafrah


“FAST is very proud of achieving this important milestone. I am especially proud of our people and the teamwork we have shown in meeting our goals. On March 19 of this year, FAST Consortium also placed the first 475 ton concrete girder into its permanent elevated position – another first for Riyadh Metro. These are important early steps in our journey toward delivering a world-class metro to the people of Riyadh. ”

Jaime Freyre de Andrade Calonge, FAST Project Director

The FAST Consortium is comprised of eight partner companies and this project will create over 15,000 direct and indirect jobs in Saudi Arabia.