RIYADH: Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, minister of transport and chairman of Saudi Railway Organization and Saudi Railways Company (SAR), on Sunday took the first 450km full journey of the high-speed Haramain train.
The non-stop journey went from Madinah station to Makkah station to examine the readiness of the project before commercial operation of the service.
The head of the public transport authority, President-designate of the Saudi Railway Organization Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo, the chief executive of SAR, Dr. Bashar Al-Malik, and several national leaders working on the project, in addition to experts from the consortium entrusted with the operation of the Holy Mosques high-speed rail, also went on the journey.
Al-Amoudi said that this project is of strategic importance and has attracted global attention, as it is one of the mega public transportation projects linking the two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah.
“In addition to the great benefit of transporting Umrah and Hajj pilgrims and visitors, the project facilitates transportation of citizens and residents in the Kingdom via the Holy Mosques high-speed rail through five stations and at high speed throughout the year,” he added. Al-Rumaih confirmed that the pilot service journeys for Holy Mosques high-speed rail would start in the coming months. He also explained that during these pilot service journeys, some passengers would be invited to try the service.
“These journeys will increase gradually until the full commercial operation,” he said, noting that “work is underway to determine the ticket prices to be appropriate and reflect the size of service provided in this project.”
Al-Rumaih added: “The consortium charged with the implementation of the project will run it for the next 12 years.” Earlier, on 20th November last year, The mega public transport project in the Makkah region on Tuesday received the first pilot trip of the high-speed Haramain train between Jeddah and Makkah, which departed from the Sulaymaniyah station in Jeddah.
Boarding the train for this first rail journey were Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman and governor of Makkah region, his deputy, Prince Abdullah bin Bandar, Minister of Transport Nabil Al-Amoudi and several officials. Al-Faisal congratulated King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the success of the first train trip between Jeddah and Makkah. He also congratulated the Islamic world, visitors to the holy city and the Saudi people on this occasion.
“Great achievements aren’t unusual in Saudi Arabia given the leadership’s keenness on serving Islam and Muslims, as well as developing this country, which has continued to prosper and advance since the day it was united,” he said.
Minister of Transport Nabil Al-Amoudi said: “Given the project’s magnitude and complexity, it faced several obstacles, but it will be completed in January 2018.”
He also pointed out that there are plans to connect the train to other areas in Makkah and connect the Jeddah Islamic Port to the rail network.
The rail network contains five stations, including the Makkah station, which plays a strategic role due to its location and its representation of this mega project’s completion, said the chairman of the Public Transport Authority, Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih.
He added: “This 503,000-square-meter station, which can accommodate 19,500 passengers per hour, is located in Al-Rusaifa at the main entrance of the city of Makkah, less than 4km from the Holy Mosque of Makkah. It also houses a modern transport center that provides buses to and from the Holy Mosque and is ready to connect to the Makkah metro network.” The Haramain Express Train is one of the largest transportation projects in the Middle East. It is a 450km electric rail track connecting Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City, running at speeds of up to 300kph, and is set to carry 60 million passengers every year.
The official launch of the Haramain train will take place in 2018 and will include the launch of 35 trains, each of which with 417 seats.