King Salman inaugurates Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway

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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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One of the new Haramain train stations that were inaugurated on Tuesday. (CIC)
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King Salman (L) and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (R) oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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One of the new Haramain train stations that were inaugurated on Tuesday. (CIC)
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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
Updated 26 September 2018
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King Salman inaugurates Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway

  • The King oversaw the services that the railway will offer passengers when it opens to the public next month
  • The network will carry 60 million passengers a year with a fleet of 35 trains

JEDDAH: King Salman launched the Haramain High-Speed Railway, the biggest electric speed train project in the Middle East, at Jeddah’s Al-Sulaymaniyah station on Tuesday.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to the king and governor of Makkah, along with senior officials and dignitaries.

The ceremony concluded with the king taking the train to Madinah. The train was captained by a Saudi national driver, Abdullah Al-Ahmadi. 

Minister of transport, Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, delivered a speech saying that the Kingdom had always been proud of serving pilgrims. “The two holy places are now closer than ever,” he said.

He added that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had directed the implementation of comprehensive work plans for the transport industry in the Kingdom. He said that the leadership had supported the project to overcome all obstacles so that it could meet the growth in the number of pilgrims and visitors to the two holy places of Makkah and Madinah.

The Haramain High-Speed Railway project is in line with the objective of Vision 2030, the main goal of which is to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the holy places, he said. 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 presented a picture to the king, which showed King Abdul Aziz with King Saud at the launch of the first railway project (East Train) in the Kingdom in 1951.

Rumaih Al-Rumaih, chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) and acting president of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO), said that supervision of the project had ensured the operational efficiency of the project and all facilities were of the highest quality. “We were keen to introduce a trustworthy project that reflects the Kingdom’s care for pilgrims and visitors of holy sites, as well as the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Al-Rumaih added that despite the technical and topographical challenges encountered during the project, the Al-Haramain train was one of the great achievements for the service of pilgrims and Umrah performers.

Al-Rumaih told Arab News that the train can annually transport 60 million passengers onboard a fleet of 35 trains, each one consisting of 417 seats. The trains are equipped with the latest technology to ensure comfort and safety.

As for women’s participation in the project, Al-Rumaih said that the government was working to provide jobs for young men and women. “Women are the other half of the society and we can see them one day driving our trains,” he told Arab News.

With a speed of 300 km and hour, Al-Rumaih said that the train would cover a distance of 450 km, linking stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah (KAIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh and Madinah.

The SR60 billion ($16 billion) mega project went through three stages before screens could display journey timetables at the stations. The first stage, which was carried out by a consortium of national and international companies, started with the construction of 130 bridges and 850 water channels, a process in which some 150 million cubic meters of sand and rocks were removed to prepare the route for the train.

The second stage involved the construction of four stations in Makkah, Jeddah, Rabigh and Madinah. The construction of the fifth station, at the KAIA, was part of the airport project. 

The third stage involved the construction of a railway line and the importation of the systems for signals, controls, ticketing and telecommunication.


Startup of the Week: Entangling the world with minimal fashion

Updated 3 min 15 sec ago
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Startup of the Week: Entangling the world with minimal fashion

  • All my designs are hand drawn. I could easily draw them digitally, but I think keeping them hand drawn gives a more personal and authentic feel

JEDDAH: Amid a plethora of innovations and fresh ideas nowadays, it is becoming harder and harder to impress the public, but 23-year-old Hasna Baker has managed to do so with her company Tangles.

She designs shirts colored black or white, with a cleverly designed symbol or letter in the center.

“All my designs are hand drawn. I could easily draw them digitally, but I think keeping them hand drawn gives a more personal and authentic feel. The little imperfections are what add to the design,” she told Arab News.

“I was inspired to start Tangles through a combination of my passion for minimal fashion and graphic T-shirts, as well as my love for arts,” she said. 

“I started coming up with a plan to incorporate meaning into each design, and came up with the idea of playing cards,” she added.

“Each symbol on a playing card has a deeper meaning, and I decided it would be a good place to start,” said Baker.

“After brainstorming ideas I began to sell my work through Instagram, and a few months later I joined the retail store Crate.” 

She did face obstacles, however, such as finding “good-quality suppliers for my packages and shirts,” and “maintaining the confidence to put my work out there.”

She added: “There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning, but the whole process has taught me to approach every experience, whether good or bad, as a lesson to learn and grow from. People have been supportive and positive.”

She has received international orders, but for now her customers are mainly based in the Kingdom.

The piece she is most proud of “is a large canvas of an elephant. It’s my biggest work yet, and took around six months to complete,” she said.

“I love the moment I step back from a project and see it all come together, as opposed to looking closely at the details.”