Holy sites rail project completed

Updated 10 September 2015

Holy sites rail project completed

JEDDAH: The Chinese construction company responsible for the Mashaer Railway at the holy sites has completed the project after six years.

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) signed off on the project this week and handed it over to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, according to a report published by an online publication.
The CRCC said the project was implemented in a short time using world-class technology. Over the past 16 months, it deployed 10,000 people to complete it. The first stage was completed in November 2010.
The railway has lines running over 18.5 kilometers and cost $1.773 billion. Nine railway stations and an area for parking was built. The train lines cross Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Five trains can transport 72,000 passengers in an hour one way.
The project included the first contract in the Kingdom covering design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance. The project won the annual merit award of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers for 2012/13.
The company said it had provided 30,000 jobs for Saudi youth and ensured training and skills development for managers. It also trained about 2,000 Saudi students at various universities in the Kingdom. It has helped remove 12,000 buses from Makkah resulting in less traffic jams and reduced levels of pollution.
The company said that it successfully operated the train over five Haj seasons from 2010 to 2014 and transported 16 million pilgrims during that time.

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.