Railways remain the least developed means of transportation in the Kingdom. There are vast distances to cover, in often adverse environmental conditions, and it was inevitable that airline services seem to be a more practical mode of transportation to a country undertaking a major development program in the second half of the twentieth century.
The Kingdom's railways currently consists primarily of a single track, standard-gauge line, running for 570 kilometers from Riyadh to Dammam in the eastern region. This line which was opened in 1951 (1370/71 AH), passes through Dhahran, Abqaiq, Hofuf, Harad and al-Kharj and has benefited from substantial renovation in recent years. An additional line joining Hofuf with Riyadh was opened in 1985 (1405/06 AH).
The Kingdom's railways are managed by the Saudi Arabian Railway Corporation (now the Saudi Railways Organization), established in 1976 (1396 AH) as an independent public utility, governed by a board of directors.