Saudi Arabia launches high-speed rail network between Mecca, Medina via Jeddah

September 26, 2018 7:41 am50 commentsViews: 244

Saudi Arabia has linked Mecca and Medina with a high-speed railway capable of traveling at speeds of 300 km per hour in an effort to improve traffic congestion for pilgrims who visit the country annually in millions from across the world.

Called as 450km Haramain High-Speed Rail System, it will link the two holiest cities of Muslims via the Red Sea city of Jeddah. It was launched by King Salman and to have five stations in total – Mecca, Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City, King Abdulaziz International Airport and Medina. Commercially the rail will start operating next Monday.

The travel time will not be cut down from five hours to two hours between Mecca and Medina. Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi said the route will now be shorter and easier for people to travel.

Talking to the dignataries at Jeddah station Nabil added, “The project highlights the kingdom’s commitment to serving Islam and Muslims.”

The rail project was built at the cost of over $16 billion after several delays. It is described as the biggest transportation project in the region.

Initially there will be eight services a day but later twelve is being proposed.

Lately Saudi Arabia is seen boosting its infrastructure with huge investments on railways like a $22.5bn metro system that is currently under construction in capital city Riyadh.

The oil-dependent economy is gradually diversifying to other sectors including tourism.

In 2019 the annual hajj pilgrimage will be held in September and it is assumed to attract over two million Muslims to the Mecca region.

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