Trial runs begin of train linking Madinah, Makkah

JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Transport Nabil bin Mohammad Al-Amoudi took the Haramain Express Train on its first full trip from Madinah to Makkah. The non-stop journey went from Madinah station to Makkah station to examine the readiness of the project before commercial operation of the service. It was the first journey along the 450 km route to check the readiness of the project before the commercial operation of the service. The project is of strategic importance, and one of the major public transport connections between the two cities, said Amoudi, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) and Saudi Railways Company (SAR). In addition to the great benefits for pilgrims, the five-station line will facilitate transport of citizens and expats between Makkah and Madinah throughout the year, the minister noted.

Dr.Nabil Al-Amoudi, Minister of Transport and Chairman of Saudi Railway Organization and Saudi Railways Company (SAR)

Trial journeys of the train will continue through the coming six months, President of SRO and the Public Transport Authority Rumaih Al-Rumaih said. Many passengers will be invited to try it on certain journeys during weekends. The trips will grow gradually until full commercial operation, Rumaih added, noting that prices of tickets will be “suitable” and reflect the volume of service of the mega project. The consortium building the project will operate it for 12 years, he added.

People will enjoy the Madinah-Makkah service on 35 trains, speeds of with 300 km/h. Each train accommodates 417 passengers, and will have four business carriages and eight economy ones, along with a diner. Amoudi and Rumaih were accompanied by Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo and a number of local officials of the project.

The head of the public transport authority, President-designate of the Saudi Railway Organization Dr. Rumaih Al-Rumaih, Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo, the chief executive of SAR, Dr. Bashar Al-Malik, and several national leaders working on the project, in addition to experts from the consortium entrusted with the operation of the Holy Mosques high-speed rail, also went on the journey.

Al-Amoudi said that this project is of strategic importance and has attracted global attention, as it is one of the mega public transportation projects linking the two Holy Mosques of Makkah and Madinah.

“In addition to the great benefit of transporting Umrah and Hajj pilgrims and visitors, the project facilitates transportation of citizens and residents in the Kingdom via the Holy Mosques high-speed rail through five stations and at high speed throughout the year,” he added.

Al-Rumaih confirmed that the pilot service journeys for Holy Mosques high-speed rail would start in the coming months.

He also explained that during these pilot service journeys, some passengers would be invited to try the service.

“These journeys will increase gradually until the full commercial operation,” he said, noting that “work is underway to determine the ticket prices to be appropriate and reflect the size of service provided in this project.”

Al-Rumaih added: “The consortium charged with the implementation of the project will run it for the next 12 years.”