Makkah-Madinah high-speed train service to start early next year

Illustration showing the Makkah-Madinah railway route.
Updated 07 October 2017
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Makkah-Madinah high-speed train service to start early next year

MAKKAH: The Makkah Region Development Authority has announced the completion of field work on the Haramain Express Train.
It expects the project to be fully completed in late 2017 and operational in the first quarter of 2018, Al-Hayat newspaper reported.
The 450-km electric railway project serves as a qualitative addition to the transportation system in the Kingdom.
It will provide a fast, convenient, reliable and safe mode of transport between Makkah and Madinah, as well as the cities of Jeddah and Rabigh.
The train will take passengers from Makkah to Madinah through Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
The project is in its final stages after 35 trains (with a capacity of 417 seats per train) were equipped with all amenities.
The train will be managed with a world-class operating system and will connect the province of Jeddah to Makkah via a 78-km double-track line.
The Makkah-Madinah high-speed railway will shorten the travel time between Jeddah and Makkah to about 21 minutes, and less than two-and-a-half hours between Makkah and Madinah.
The Makkah station is located at the main entrance to the city in the neighborhood of Al-Rusaifah.
The station is about 3 km away from the Grand Mosque in Makkah, while Al-Madinah station is located in the Knowledge Economic City (KEC) on King Abdul Aziz Road.
There are two train stations in Jeddah; the first is in Sulaymaniyah in the center of the city, and the second is at King Abdul Aziz International Airport.
The Rabigh station is located near King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST).


Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

Updated 15 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘racing into the future’ with Formula E

  • A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally
  • “This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

RIYADH: Formula E is one for the books. Attracting fans from all over the world, the mega event — held in the historic Saudi town of Ad Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site — is set to revolutionize motorsports by using only electric race cars. 

Officially known as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, the race expects to draw 40,000 attendees, with access not only to the race but also to the Kingdom’s largest ever festival for music, entertainment and cultural activities.

A first for Saudi Arabia and the region, the event’s magnitude reflects the Kingdom’s goal of hosting major events and promoting them domestically and globally.

A milestone was marked as Bandar Alesayi and Ahmed bin Khanen became the first Saudi I-Pace eTrophy racers, sponsored by the General Sports Authority (GSA). 

Both drivers predict increased grassroots support in the Kingdom for youths to train in carting and race-car driving.  

At 1.76 miles long with 21 corners, the track is somewhat tricky for first-time Formula E drivers.

“The system is like Mario Bros when they get the little star and go faster,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. The new electric circuit in Saudi Arabia has been hailed as one of the best Formula E tracks.

The three-day event is hosting some of the world’s top singers, including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and One Republic, along with DJ EJ. 

“This is unprecedented and fabulous,” one concert-goer said. Another said: “I can’t believe I’m in Saudi Arabia.” 

Outside the venue, Al-Bujairy, one of Ad Diriyah’s historic areas, hosts high-end restaurants, cafes and local designer outlets overlooking the historic district of At-Turaif, which was once home to the Saudi royal family and has newly opened for visitors.

Another area of interest is the Family Zone, with many events and activities to entertain all age groups. Men, women and children are given different driving experiences.

In Ad Diriyah’s Formula E, only one car is allowed per driver instead of two, making pit stops more crucial in terms of timing.  

“Attack mode” gives cars a temporary power boost from 200 to 225 kilowatts, equivalent to 268-302 horsepower. Drivers need to move to a certain area on the track to activate this mode.

“Saudi Arabia is racing into the future with Formula E, as we open the Kingdom to the world in a transformation that’s being supercharged by the Vision 2030 plan, driven forward by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud, vice-chair of the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, told Arab News.