Hello, Riyadhizens! Last Eid, Hubby and I went to Al Khobar with the rest of the in-laws. On the way back, my husband and I decided to ride the train back to Riyadh. Believe it or not, even though we grew up here we have never tried this.
There are two ways you can buy a ticket. You can either go to the train station ahead of time and purchase your tickets there or you could book your tickets online on their website and then pay using the SADAD payment system (online banking) or by using your ATM card. The website is easy enough to navigate. Do book your tickets at least a week ahead during the Eid Holidays. Trust me, it’ll save you the headache of getting tickets and seats. There are just so many people riding the train during the holidays!
After making the payment, you can then reserve the seats you prefer if they’re available. You can print your ticket from home or you can print the ticket at the train station, just enter your reservation code or ticket number. You’ll be advised to take come 30 minutes earlier than your schedule because you’ll have to go through the regular baggage inspections and security protocols. Bring just enough baggage to fit the overhead cabin storage. If you’re too early, there are comfy waiting areas, the first class waiting area even offers refreshment.
We booked the modern train first class but oddly, got the ordinary first class “Al Rihab”. On our ticket, it says “Modern Al Rihab”, so I’m not sure if the train we rode was modern or ordinary. Haha… Honestly though, we didn’t mind because the actual train cabin we rode was modern and spacious. There were two types of seats for our cabin: the four-seaters facing each other and the two-seaters facing each other. Note to self: next time we’ll try the two-seaters. The tickets cost us 130 SR per person, one way ticket from Dammam to Riyadh.
It was very spacious and the seats were comfy. There was a fold-up table between the four seats and a small TV fixed in front and at the back of the cabin. We had access to Wifi on the train and comfort rooms were also available. There were stewards who served dates and Arabic coffee for free. You could also buy other snacks from the food cart (I was half-expecting chocolate frogs like in Harry Potter. Hehe). There’s also a food bar where you can buy other drinks and sandwiches. As expected prices tend to be higher though. They sold water for 2 SR per bottle.
You don’t need to bring a jacket if it’s not winter. The train isn’t really that cold, just cool enough to be comfortable. However, wear comfortable clothes and closed abayas because the train isn’t gender segregated.
We took the 7:30 P.M. trip so most of the time, I was either reading, crocheting or sleeping. Another tip: bring ear plugs if you’re sensitive to noise. You’ll never know if you might end up sitting near a crying infant so come prepared. The whole trip took us almost five hours with two short stops at other stations along the way. We arrived at the Malaz Train Station a little after 12:15 A.M. We took a cab from there. A little tip though, cab drivers tend to charge too much from the station. One even tried to charge us 70 SR to our home! We walked a bit further and found a cab who was willing to take us for 35 SR! Don’t be afraid to haggle for the fare. 🙂
I hope this post has proven useful for those who are thinking of trying Saudi’s new rail system! Till our next post!
Saudi Rail Organization
Coordinates (Riyadh Malaz Station): 24.6591256,46.7387109,15