KSA’s 300kph Haramain train to start service in September

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The Haramain high-speed train. (SPA file photo)
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Saudi Transport Minister Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi. (SPA)
Updated 07 May 2018
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KSA’s 300kph Haramain train to start service in September

JEDDAH: The first high-speed electric trains between Makkah and Madinah will be running by September, Saudi Transport Minister Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi said on Sunday. 

The high-speed electric train is designed to travel at speeds of more than 300 kilometers per hour and is considered the fastest in the Middle East. 

The railway will be able to carry 60 million passengers a year by the time it is fully operational at the beginning of 2019, Al-Amoudi said. 

The 450-kilometer main line will travel through King Abdullah Economic City, with a short branch line to the new King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah. 

Transport is a main pillar of the national economy and a key driver of the economic renaissance that will take place under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy, Al-Amoudi told the opening session of the two-day Makkah Economic Forum at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jeddah. 

Aside from the Makkah-Madinah railway, the other major transport project is the new airport in Jeddah, the minister said. It will begin operations this month, with a limited number of domestic flights. Further domestic flights will be added in July and September, along with six new gates for international flights.

KAIA will be fully operational in the first three months of 2019, with a total of 46 gates. It will be five times the size of the existing airport, with a capacity of 30 million passengers a year, the minister said.

In addition, the aviation sector planned to develop a further 12 domestic airports, Al-Amoudi said. He described KAIA as one of the most important projects of the Civil Aviation Authority, considering it as a quality shift in the services of the airport, which is five times bigger than the existing one and with a capacity to accommodate more than 30 million travelers.

He said the first phase of the airport’s operational plan will start in May and will include a limited number of domestic flights through six gates. Other domestic flights through five gates will be added in July. In the third phase starting in September, the designed number of domestic flights will be completed and a number of international flights will be added through six new gates, which increases the total number to 17 gates. 


Pakistan PM receives Saudi crown prince at Rawalpindi airbase

Updated 8 min 54 sec ago
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Pakistan PM receives Saudi crown prince at Rawalpindi airbase

  • Islamabad puts out all stops for Crown Prince Salman's first official visit
  • Trip expected to enhance historically close bilateral ties and expand cooperation in trade and investment

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was received by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa as he landed in Rawalpindi on Sunday evening to sign a host of important investment deals during a two-day visit.

Prime Minister Khan broke protocol by personally driving the Saudi royal from the Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi on the outskirts of the capital city of Islamabad.

The trip, the crown prince's first to the country since he became the heir-apparent in April 2017, is being seen by Pakistan as one of the most important state visits in recent memory. It is aimed at boosting bilateral ties, long defined by security and defense deals, by expanding economic cooperation and sealing several investment deals.

During the visit, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in various sectors including investment, finance, power, renewable energy, internal security, media, culture, and sports. Deals of over $20 billion will be signed, information minister Fawad Chaudhry told Arab News on Sunday.

The crown jewel in the investments is a $10 billion refinery and petrocomplex to be set up in the port of city of Gwadar in southwestern Pakistan. 

Pakistan has put out all stops for the visit of the powerful Saudi heir, with Saudi and Pakistani flags, welcome banners and huge portraits of the crown prince, PM Khan and Pakistani President Arif Alvi put up at several key points in Islamabad.

Security was tight in the capital on the weekend, with authorities restricting entry into the Red Zone, a diplomatic enclave which houses important state-owned buildings including the Prime Minister House, President House and the Supreme Court.

The crown prince -- who is accompanied by a coterie of officials from the Saudi Royal family, key ministers, and leading businessmen -- is expected to discuss bilateral, regional, and global issues during meetings with the president, the prime minister, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The Saudi royal will also attend a dinner at the PM House on Sunday night and a luncheon at the Presidential Palace on Monday. He will co-chair with PM Khan meetings of joint working groups in many sectors including energy, trade and media on Monday.

“A delegation of Pakistan’s Senate will also call on the crown prince to discuss ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the two countries,” the Foreign Office said in a statement, adding that Saudi ministers would meet their counterparts to discuss bilateral cooperation in their respective fields.

"On the sidelines of the visit, the businessmen of the two countries will meet to discuss opportunities for collaboration in the private sector,” the statement read.

“The visit...will significantly enhance bilateral ties between the two countries in all spheres of cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.