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'Makkah Metro operates under highest standard of safety'

Top executives of the Makkah Al-Mashaer Metro (MMM), China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), explained the smooth operation of the MMM this year and the last five years pilgrimage since its inception.
Dong Liwei, the CRCC deputy general manager, said CRCC is committed to making every Haj year successful and meeting the most stringent safety standards for smooth operations of the Makkah Metro pointing out that they had transported a total of over 16 million passengers for five years in a row.
He said strict maintenance and evaluation of every task and work assignment are in place round-the-clock with the help of the best railways experts in the world to do safety inspections and test runs of the trains throughout the year before the Haj period.
Dong Liwei said: “Our team makes a comprehensive report at the end of every Haj and conducts a thorough evaluation and study on identifying every single observation where improvement is possible.”
He said with the last train driving back from Jamarat at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7, 2014, the Haj operation of the MMM-Southern Line was successfully operated by CRCC. It completed the transport service mission for five consecutive years with an overall figure of 16 million passenger trips.
“Under the supervision of the Saudi Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA) this year, the train operation started at 4 a.m. on Oct. 1 with a continuous operating period of 158 hours (including 7 days and 6 nights)” he noted.
During the period, 1,949 train trips (as against the originally planned 1,696 trips) were operated during which they carried more than 3.8 million passengers. In general, train services were very safe, smooth and successful.
The whole operation is being monitored by sophisticated equipment and high tech computer systems under the supervision of well-trained engineers and technical staff.
At the main headquarters, the Operation Control Center (OCC), monitoring team works around the clock to watch every single movement at all stations where immediate action is required for any emergency. “The same monitors are also placed at every station to ensure immediate action and solutions,” said the OCC head.
CRCC led by Zhao Dianlong, secretary of the Party Committee of the CRCC International Group takes the onerous responsibility of ensuring safety for the tough and intense operation work. Dianlong worked at Arafat 3 station which witnessed the most stressful situation regarding crowd management and control.
The operation this year according to (MOMRA) was manned by 1,600 staff, both men and women deployed in all stations in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah, with the cooperation of various government agencies from the Ministry of Haj, Public Security and the Civil Defense.
According to the Deputy Stations Manager, Taher Al-Bhagdadi, the train does not stop while in operation except when in position or in cross boarding to allow another train to pass. Also, the train routinely undergoes a swift maintenance checkup to ensure that all operations are in order.
Explaining the embarkation process, he said every station has two waiting areas to board the train, with a solid glass wall that separates the first batch from the second batch. As such, 3,000 pilgrims with tickets will be allowed access to the first waiting area next to the train doors while the rest of the pilgrims will wait outside the wall separation. This will prevent large numbers of pilgrims from embarking the train all together.

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