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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2401

Makkah-Madinah high-speed train service to start operating in September

Riyadh, 18 May, (Asiantribune.com):

The Makkah Region Development Authority has announced the completion of field work on the Haramain Express Train - linking Islam’s holiest cities of Makkah and Madinah.The train will be managed with a world-class operating system and will connect the province of Jeddah to Makkah via a 78-km double-track line.

It was expected that the project to be fully completed in late 2017 and operational in the first quarter of 2018, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.

It will provide a fast, convenient, reliable and safe mode of transport between Makkah and Madinah, as well as the cities of Jeddah and Rabigh.

The Makkah-Madinah high-speed railway will shorten the travel time between Jeddah and Makkah to about 21 minutes, and less than two-and-a-half hours between Makkah and Madinah.

The Makkah station is located at the main entrance to the city in the neighborhood of Al-Rusaifah.

The station is about 3 km away from the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while Al-Madinah station is located in the Knowledge Economic City (KEC) on King Abdul Aziz Road.

There are two train stations in Jeddah; the first is in Sulaymaniyah in the center of the city, and the second is at King Abdul Aziz International Airport.

The Rabigh station is located near King Abdullah University for Science and Technology

Earlier, the high-speed railway linking Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia, has been plagued by delays, will finally start operating in September, the Spanish consortium building the project said Thursday.

The railway linking Islam’s holiest cities, which was initially scheduled to open at the end of 2016, had a cost overrun of 210 million euros which Saudi Arabia has agreed to pay, the Al-Shoula consortium added in a statement.

Saudi Arabia in 2011 awarded the contract worth 6.7 billion euros ($7.1 billion) to the consortium of 12 Spanish companies and two Saudi firms for the project which aims to improve transport between the two cities during the annual hajj pilgrimage.

The contract — one of the biggest Spanish firms have ever undertaken abroad — is for the laying of the 444 kilometres (275 miles) of track between Mecca and Medina, providing 35 trains and maintaining the line for 12 years.

When it is finished, the rail link will be able to move 166,000 passengers per day.

But the project has run into challenges that have added to its costs, leading to disagreements among members of the consortium over who is responsible for resolving them and paying for the cost overruns.

The rail line crosses the Arabian Desert, where sandstorms are frequent and large dunes can suddenly form, which has added to the difficulties in completing the project.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to Spain last month played a “key” role in resolving the disagreements over the delays in completing he project, Spanish daily El Mundo reported earlier on last Thursday.

The leading firms in the consortium — Spain’s rail company Renfe, train maker Talgo, and state track operator Adif — have extensive experience with Spain’s own high-speed network, the world’s second largest after China’s.

- Asian Tribune -

Makkah-Madinah high-speed train service to start operating in September
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