Saudi Arabia’s high-speed Haramain train to generate over 2,000 jobs, says official



Saudi transport ministry officials and media persons are seen at a Haramain train during a test-ride on Thursday. (AN photo)
  MAKKAH: The Haramain rail project, or “Makkah-Madinah high-speed railway,” will create more than 2,000 jobs for Saudis, according to the former director general of the Haramain train, Dr. Bassam Gholman.
Gholman said 12,000 passengers would be able to travel between Makkah and Madinah every hour, providing secure and comfortable transport for pilgrims and other users. It was possible to operate 10 trips of 21 minutes between Makkah and Jeddah every hour, and two per hour between Makkah and Madinah.
He said the SR60 billion ($16 billion) project included four train stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah, in addition to a fifth station at the new King Abdul Aziz Airport, and could help to dismantle many slums.
The Saudi Ministry of Transport is running trips on the Haramain train from Makkah to Madinah to collect feedback and prepare for the launch of commercial operations.
Ministry spokesman Abdullah Sayel said one trip this week between Makkah to Madinah hosted students, supervisors and faculty members from Umm Al-Qura University. This was an extension of weekly trips incorporating social partnerships with various entities, including the public and private sector.
Sayel said that the Haramain train has been operating trips every weekend between Madinah to Makkah to gauge the operational capabilities of the train.
Abdulmonem Boukhary, former public relations and media director at the Makkah Chamber of Trade and Industry, said that the train service between the two holy cities would have a huge economic impact and take two hours compared with the current five- hour drive.
The Haramain service is one of the biggest public transport projects in the Middle East, a 450 kilometer two-way electric train linking Makkah and Madinah, with extensions to Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.
The project will transport 60 million passengers per year on 35 trains, with a seating capacity of 417 per train and traveling at a speed of 300 kph.

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