Saudi Arabia–Haramain High Speed Train makes First Trial run

The Saudi Railways Organization conducted the first successful trial run of the Haramain High Speed Train on Tuesday,  July 28th, 2015, on a 100-kilometer stretch between King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh and Madinah. Al-Haramain Train project first of its kind in Mideast

Transport Minister Abdullah Al-Muqbil, who is chairman of the board of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO), revealed that electricity has been connected through overhead lines for the Haramain High-Speed Railway network, according to Arab News. Al-Muqbil said the train has been tested on the line with a gradual speed of 300 km/h. Tests will continue for a few months until the efficiency of the train is verified.

The 450-kilometer high-speed railway — first of its kind in the kingdom and linking Makkah,  Madinah and Jeddah including Rabigh is expected to become fully operational next year, reducing the distance between the two holy cities to less than two hours, reported Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Arabia’s High Speed Express Train linking Makkah-Jeddah-Madinah makes first trial run

The train will cross the distance between Jeddah and Makkah in 30 minutes and the distance between Makkah and Madinah in two and a half hours.

The minister expected King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and Madinah to be linked to the railway line by the end of 2015, a report said.

Meanwhile, the train station in Jeddah is nearing completion, reported Arab News.

The Haramain trains are equipped with the latest signalling and communications system and provide the safest mode of high-speed rails with the latest techniques, a report said.

The project which consists of the construction of a training center in Dammam, is valued around $8 billion.

The picture shows top Saudi officials on the train during the trial run.

The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.

The project’s importance stems from many considerations, primarily the increasing numbers of pilgrims, visitors, residents and worshipers coming to the country, Madinah and Makkah year after year.

The train will greatly reduce the congestion on the roads between Makkah and Madinah, in addition to Jeddah governorate. It will also reduce road traffic accidents and pollution levels, resulting from vehicles’ fuel emissions. Additionally, it will provide job opportunities for Saudi youths after they get the necessary training and qualifications on the operation and maintenance tasks.

The project consists of establishing electric tracks between Makkah, passing through Jeddah and reaching Madinah with a length of 450 km. The tracks are equipped with signals and advanced communication means.

The project will go through two important phases; the first will involve building the overpasses, bridges, underpasses, water channels and other necessary infrastructure including the stations; and the second phase will involve developing the tracks and railways and the trains.

There are four main stations in the project between Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City in Dabiagh and Madianah. An additional fifth extra station will be established at King Abdulaziz International Airport with the new airport expansion project to link the airport and the station with the whole project.

Makkah station is the most costly with SR3.2 billion, Sulaimanyah station comes following with a cost of SR2.9 billion, then King Abdullah Economic City with a cost of SR1.75 billion and Madinah station at a cost of SR1.54 billion.

The project involves constructing 140 overpasses and 860 water channels to discharge rainwater.

The trains, 35 electrical trains with a speed of 300 km per hour, were manufactured with world class specifications and standards by Talgo, a Spanish manufacturer of intercity, standard, and high speed passenger trains.

Experts in the field said Al-Haramain Train is a unique and one of its kind projects considering that it is the first high speed electrical train in the Middle East.

Seven trains will run within one hour from and to Jeddah, two trains will run between Makkah and Madinah, and 4 trains will run between Makkah and Rabigh and the one train will transport 19,600 passengers per hour.