The Haramain High Speed Train arrived on Tuesday in Makkah for the first time, paving the way for the formal launch of the much-awaited operation in the near future.
The train started its trial run from its main station in Jeddah and reached Rusaifa Station at the entrance of the holy city.
Romaih Al-Romaih, president of the Saudi Public Transport Commission and Saudi Railways Organization, and Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of Saudi Railway Company (SAR), and senior executives of the Saudi-Spanish consortium, which is implementing the giant project, arrived in Makkah on the board the train, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Speaking to reporters, Al-Romaih said the train reached the Makkah station for the first time in the final phase of the experimental operation of the train.
The train is scheduled to begin operation in first quarter of 2018.
The Haramain High Speed Railway links the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City of Rabigh. The 450-km-long railway, with fully electrified double tracks, is estimated to cost SR37.5 billion. The project includes trains traveling at a speed of 320 km per hour and fitted with the highly advanced equipment and devices. There will be 35 trains and a special train for the elderly people.
The state-of-the-art railway has five stations —two terminus stations in Makkah and Madinah, and two central stations in Jeddah and Rabigh, in addition to a fifth station at King Abdulaziz International Airport built by the General Authority of Civil Aviation.
The Jeddah station will be the main station, with the central control room. The Rusaifah station is 4 km away from the Grand Mosque.
The railway, which will bring about a dramatic change in the transportation of pilgrims between the two holy cities, is expected to carry three million passengers a year, besides helping to relieve traffic congestion on the expressways.