Experimental operation of the 480-km Haramain Railway that links the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah will take place in the beginning of next year, said Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry.
He said the first train from a total of 35 trains for the railway would arrive in the Kingdom by the end of this year. “We need sometime to fix the train’s parts and we’ll conduct an experimental operation.”
“We have completed 90 percent work on the main stations and we are studying prospects of establishing a new station near the Meeqat Mosque in Madinah for the benefit of pilgrims,” the minister said.
The 300 km/h speed train system will pass by Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.
Al-Seraisry, who inspected the railway station in Madinah, urged contractors to establish proper rainwater drainage systems for the stations.
He said work on the two stations in Makkah and Madinah was affected by Umrah and Haj seasons. “Engineers wanted to establish the stations 1.2 meters above the ground level to protect them from flashfloods.”
The Madinah station located in the Knowledge Economic City covers an area of 172,000 square meters and include passenger lounges, six platforms for trains, arrival and departure halls, a helipad, and a mosque and a parking area for 1,000 vehicles.
Mohammed bin Khaled Al-Suwaiket, president of Saudi Railway Organization, said the project would be able to make 90 percent of returns within 12 years. He estimated the project’s total cost at SR3 billion.
He said the railway would operate seven trains between Jeddah and Makkah, two between Makkah and Madinah, and four between Makkah and Rabigh. “Every train is expected to carry nearly 20,000 passengers every hour.”