By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS
JEDDAH: The Mashair Railway will transport more than 500,000 pilgrims this Haj season when it operates at full capacity for the first time, a senior government official said. The service links the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.
“The railway will charge SR250 from each pilgrim for using the facility throughout the Haj season from Dul Hijjah 7 to 13,” said Habib Zaine Al-Abidine, deputy minister of municipal and rural affairs. This includes traveling from Mina to Arafat and from Arafat to Muzdalifah and back to Mina during the peak days of Haj.
He said Mashair would transport 90,000 pilgrims per hour. “No railway in the world has the facility to transport such a huge number of people within a short period,” he pointed out.
This year the railway would serve domestic and Gulf pilgrims as well as 200,000 South Asian pilgrims in addition to pilgrims from Arab countries. Zaine Al-Abidine hoped the transportation of pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdalifah on the 9th day of Dul Hijjah would be completed in five hours. He requested the media to encourage pilgrims and Tawafa organizations to make use of the railway.
The minister indicated that the railway could be used throughout the year to promote tourism, especially to transport Umrah pilgrims who want to visit holy sites. The ministry has set up a well-equipped maintenance center to ensure the railway’s uninterrupted service. The center covers an area of 800,000 square meters and includes a remote-control center.