Haramain train stations to open by end 2017

The stations can't start operating before the railway does, a project official said.
Updated 27 September 2016

Haramain train stations to open by end 2017

RIYADH: The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) has revised its plans to open new stations in Jeddah, King Abdullah City and Madinah on commercial basis pending full operation of Haramain Railway project by the end of 2017, local media reported.
It is too early to decide whether the stations will operate commercially before the practical operation of the railway project is revised, as it will require maintenance and cleaning costs, a project official told Aleqtesadiah daily.
“Operating the stations will constitute a financial burden on the project management because the key customer, passengers, has not come yet,” he was quoted as saying.
Renting stores and restaurants at Madinah and Rabigh stations and opening them to the public before the train project is operational violates contracts signed with the Spanish consortium, he said.
He said the Spanish consortium will be fully responsible for operation and maintenance of the project over 12 years starting 2017.
He denied works on the project have slowed down, adding that all the project contracts would be completed by the end of 2017.
The railway project will see 35 passenger cars on two-way trips every half an hour between Makkah and Madinah, he said.
Journeys between cities will take different times, as follows: Makkah-Jeddah 21 minutes, Jeddah-King Abdulaziz Airport 14 minutes, King Abdulaziz Airport-Rabigh 36 minutes, Rabigh-Madinah 61 minutes.

UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

Updated 22 min 31 sec ago

UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

  • Culture and Sustainable Development conference was held at UN headquarters in New York
  • Dr. Afnan bint Abdullah Al-Shuaibi, the general supervisor for International Relations at the Ministry of Culture, delivered the Kingdom’s speech

NEW YORK: UN hears culture and heritage are essential aspects of Saudi Vision 2030

At the United Nations on Tuesday, the Saudi Ministry of Culture highlighted the important role that diverse cultures and national heritage can play in the development of nations and promoting peace, and the ways in which the Kingdom is using this to encourage intercultural dialogue, diversity and openness.

The conference, titled Culture and Sustainable Development, was organized by the UN General Assembly in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to mark the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Dr. Afnan Al-Shuaibi, the general supervisor of international relations at the ministry, delivered the Kingdom's speech during the event at the UN’s New York HQ. She said “culture is an essential part of the Saudi Vision 2030” and highlighted the “importance of preserving cultural and natural heritage to achieve peace, and the common endeavor of all countries to build a rich cultural future in which various kinds of culture and arts flourish.” She also described the vision and outlook of the ministry, and the ambitious initiatives it has implemented to develop the Saudi cultural sector.

The conference, which was based around the importance of cultural diversity and indigenous cultures to sustainable development, focused on local, regional and international experiences of this. It highlighted the relationship between culture and diversity, and how they link to local solutions to climate change and environmental challenges; offered views on the effective role of culture in providing decent employment opportunities and reducing poverty; social resilience and other aspects of sustainable development plans; and showed how culture, arts, education and the creative industries can contribute to the achievement of development goals and creative solutions in urban and rural areas, at local and national levels.

The event also included a panel discussion titled “Cultural Diversity as a Common Human Heritage.” It explored two themes: “Culture and Education: Foundations of Sustainability” and “Culture as an Instrument for Change, Innovation, Empowerment and Equality.”

Other issues were also addressed, including the importance of preserving cultural and natural heritage, the role of traditional knowledge and skills to promote environmental sustainability, the resilience of climate-related disasters and the impact of cultural heritage on identity preservation and peace building.

The Ministry of Culture took part in the event as pat of its efforts to promote cultural dialogue and showcase the Kingdom’s experiences in pursuing its ambitious cultural-development goals, which are an integral part of the transformations that are key to achieving Saudi Vision 2030.