JEDDAH, July 26, (KUNA): Saudi officials announced Tuesday that the USD multi-billion high-speed Al-Haramain rail would start operation in the first quarter of 2018.
In statements to reporters following a trial journey on the train, Minister of Transport Suleiman Al-Hamdan and Head of Saudi Railways Organization Dr Rammah Al-Rammah said that the project, which links Islam’s two holiest cities of Makkah and Madina, is expected to transport up to 60 million annually after full operation.
He noted that the project employs the latest state-of-art technology. “It will be a remarkable addition to the Kingdom’s transport system,” he said.
He pointed out that the 444 km-long line would be used by 35 trains, each with capacity for over 417 passengers.
The Haramain High Speed Rail is a major infrastructure project for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, connecting the cities of Makkah, Madina, Jeddah and the developing King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
The project’s importance stems from many considerations, primarily the increasing numbers of pilgrims, visitors, residents and worshipers coming to the country, Madina and Makkah year after year. The train will greatly reduce the congestion on the roads between Makkah and Madina, in addition to Jeddah governorate. It will also reduce road traffic accidents and pollution levels, resulting from vehicles’ fuel emissions.