JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Transport Nabil bin Mohammad Al-Amoudi on Sunday took the Haramain Express Train on its first full trip from Madinah to Makkah. It was the first journey along the 450 km route to check the readiness of the project before the commercial operation of the service. The project is of strategic importance, and one of the major public transport connections between the two cities, said Amoudi, who is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) and Saudi Railways Company (SAR). In addition to the great benefits for pilgrims, the five-station line will facilitate transport of citizens and expats between Makkah and Madinah throughout the year, the minister noted.
Trial journeys of the train will continue through the coming six months, President of SRO and the Public Transport Authority Rumaih Al-Rumaih said. Many passengers will be invited to try it on certain journeys during weekends. The trips will grow gradually until full commercial operation, Rumaih added, noting that prices of tickets will be “suitable” and reflect the volume of service of the mega project. The consortium building the project will operate it for 12 years, he added.
People will enjoy the Madinah-Makkah service on 35 trains, speeds of with 300 km/h. Each train accommodates 417 passengers, and will have four business carriages and eight economy ones, along with a diner. Amoudi and Rumaih were accompanied by Spanish Ambassador Alvaro Iranzo and a number of local officials of the project. – KUNA