Haramain high-speed rail service resumed at Jeddah airport

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JEDDAH: The high-speed rail service to Jeddah’s King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA) resumed on Wednesday after a fire tore through one of its stations in Jeddah in September.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA), in cooperation with operators of the Haramain rail transport system, began running trains again between Makkah and Madinah through the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh. The station at the KAIA is connected to the airport’s Terminal 1. 

Work is still underway to repair damage and restore operations at Al-Sulaymaniyah station in Jeddah following the huge blaze in September. During peak hours Haramain trains run every 10 minutes and the rail service has the capacity to carry 20 million passengers a year.

The go-ahead to resume operations came after an official inspection of equipment and passenger facilities at the station, which was overseen by the GACA’s assistant chief operating officer, Sulaiman bin Ahmed Al-Bassam, KAIA general manager, Essam bin Fouad Nour, and government officials.

The new KAIA rail link is the first airport connection of its kind in the region and is aimed at easing the transfer of visitors and pilgrims to the Two Holy Mosques as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal to be able to accommodate 30 million pilgrims by 2030.

KAIA Terminal 1 covers 810,000 square meters and consists of six floors, commercial areas, and a designated waiting lounge for those traveling VIP class. Its railway station has six 519-meter-long platforms, each capable of handling two trains with 832 passengers, and it can deal with approximately 3,204 travelers per hour.

The multibillion-dollar rail project has been designed to cope with the growing number of foreign pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom and relieve traffic pressure on roads between Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah.