The much-awaited Haramain Speed Rail, which connects the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and able to cut traveling time between the two cities from six hours to two and a half hours, is expected to be fully operational after the pilgrimage season this year.
King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) station operation and maintenance supervisor Saleem Mohammed Amin Bakhsh said the bullet train service which operates at a maximum speed of 300km/h had been tested and commissioned by the Saudi Arabia Railway (SAR) authority and will be ready soon.
"This 450-kilometer high-speed inter-city rail transport system linking Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and KAEC is one of the biggest public transport projects in the Middle East," Bakhsh said in a press statement here on Tuesday.
"This $16 billion project started in 2012. Once operational, it will be open to all who come to the Holy Land, especially those who intend to perform Umrah and ziarah (visit). However, the authority has not decided on the fares," he added.
He was speaking to a delegation of 11 media editors who were invited by Saudi Arabia's Minister of Media Dr. Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, to cover the pre-pilgrimage preparation in the Holy Land at the KAEC station.
Source: International Islamic News Agency