Makkah-Madinah train set to roll by January 2014

Updated 24 August 2012

Makkah-Madinah train set to roll by January 2014

JEDDAH: Construction is under way on the first high-speed passenger railway line between Makkah and Madinah and is expected to be complete by January 2014.
Transport Minister Jabara Al-Seraisry, said the new Madinah railway station situated close to the Prince Muhammad Airport would serve Haj and Umrah pilgrims more efficiently.
“The work on the Haramain High Speed Rail Project between Makkah and Madinah is progressing on time and as planned,” Al-Seraisry, who is also chairman of the Saudi Railway Organization, told Al-Jazirah daily.
The 480-km railway line, constructed specifically for high-speed electric trains, will pass through the port city of Jeddah.
The first phase of the Haramain project includes the building of a railway station at Makkah and Madinah and two stations in Jeddah including the one at King Abdulaziz International Airport.
Initially the Haramain railway is expected to carry more than 3 million passengers annually. According to statistics, more than 3.5 million pilgrims were transported between Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah in 2005.
The same year saw more than 2 million Umrah pilgrims. According to studies conducted by the Haj Ministry, demand for transporting Haj pilgrims is expected to double over the next 25 years and Umrah pilgrims will total 11 million.
This, along with the huge potential for employment of Saudis, resulted in significant investment in the transport sector.
Minister Al-Seraisry said Saudization of the sector would start at 75 percent, with the intention to achieve 100 percent.
The project contract specifies an institute to train Saudi workers on high-speed technology be established.
“Technical matters relating to issues like safety, however, would require foreign experts,” he said.
Saudi Arabia currently has 1,200 km of railway lines and when current rail projects are complete, the total will be closer to 7,000 km.
A SR 30.8 billion contract was signed between the government and Al-Shoula Co., a Saudi-Spanish consortium, to implement Phase II of the Haramain project in January.
New railway and expansion projects currently underway in the Kingdom include North-South Rail, the Land-bridge Project between Riyadh and Jeddah, and the GCC Railway.
The North-South Rail has two components: A service to transport minerals to manufacturing centers at the Ras Al-Khair port in the Arabian Gulf; and a passenger and freight service. It will start at the Jordanian border and link with the Riyadh to Dammam Railway.
The GCC railway project will connect the six GCC members, starting in Kuwait, passing through Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, and ending in Oman.


Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

Updated 14 min 48 sec ago

Saudi Arabia tells UN: We are promoting sustainable methods in housing

  • Saudi Green Building Forum attended conference at UN headquarters
  • SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices

JEDDAH: The Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF) has shown that its mission aligns with the UN Commission for Social Development. 

A SGBF delegation attended the 58th session of the commission at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday.

The SGBF demonstrated its commitment to affordable housing through environmentally sustainable practices.

“The SGBF supports the integration of affordable housing within urban developments, architectural design and use of materials that support occupants’ wellbeing, and minimizing construction waste through efficient methods,” said Faisal Al-Fadl, SGBF chair representative to the UN.

Al-Fadl told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is addressing key messages on clean energy and is focusing on a low-carbon, resource-efficient, inclusive circular economy and building systems addressing these core issues.

“The Kingdom is complying with the principle of sustainability and is helping to advance the resilience of our cities.”

The UN Commission for Social Development’s role is to monitor national and global socioeconomic trends, identify emerging issues and assess their implications for social policy at the national and international levels.

The session reviewed some of the social challenges of implementing the 2030 Agenda, with a focus on issues relevant to the three core social development goals identified at the World Summit for Social Development. 

The goals are eradicating poverty, promoting productive employment and decent work and promoting social inclusion.

The SGBF’s mission focuses on the resilience of city development practices within affordable housing developments to minimize negative impacts on the planet and citizens.

The forum addressed the practices of green systems and sustainable development in the Arab world. It said it will continue to work with the commission to support new resolutions on social and development issues, including the first-ever text on homelessness to be approved by a UN intergovernmental body.