Mashair trains to carry 25% less pilgrims during Haj

Updated 03 September 2013

Mashair trains to carry 25% less pilgrims during Haj

There will be a 25 percent reduction in the number of pilgrims traveling by trains at the holy sites during the upcoming Haj season in comparison to the number of pilgrims allowed on the trains last year.
This is to ensure unimpeded transportation and timely movement, a Haj Ministry official said recently.
Mashair Railway trains traveling between Arafat and Jamarat Bridge with a capacity of 500,000 pilgrims were flagged off in 2011 with the aim of reducing
the endless traffic bottlenecks at the holy sites during Haj seasons.
“The ministry plans to reduce the capacity of trains to 377,000 pilgrims this year as part of its measures to avoid repeating travel delays and other issues that arose last year,” director general of transport at the Ministry of Haj, Abdul Rahman Endijani, said.
The train service will only be for domestic and Gulf pilgrims this year, he said.
The ministry began considering the proposal for reducing the number of pilgrims earlier this year. It organized a workshop for departments to discuss the problems of rail transport during Haj seasons. It also called on departments to strive for a successful grouping strategy for train travel.
Another solution being implemented to keep railway stations safe from the influx of crowds is to fence off the station area so that undocumented or ticketless pilgrims cannot enter the station premises.
According to sources at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, its contract with the Chinese company to operate the railway will expire this year.
“The Ministry of Municipal Affairs will invite new tenders for the operation and maintenance of the Mashair Railway following this Haj season,” the source said, adding that the new contract will also include operations during the Ramadan.
Endijani said that the trains have operated since the middle of last month in order to ensure a glitch-free system during the Haj season.
He said the beginning of the trial run was aimed at ensuring safe and unobstructed transportation, adding that any delay in train services will have a domino effect on other services.
Another source responsible for modernization at the ministry said on a previous occasion that the investigation committee, appointed to discover the cause of delay in train services on the Arafat Standing day, identified seven reasons for the delay.
Most notable was the accumulation of passengers at stations and the refusal of other to board the train because it would not stop at the stations they wanted to disembark at.
“A pilgrim’s boarding and de-boarding is decided by Haj authorities and not by the pilgrim,” he said.


Saudi Cabinet voices support for Cyprus

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session on Tuesday. The meeting reviewed the Kingdom’s economic progress. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2020

Saudi Cabinet voices support for Cyprus

  • Kingdom calls for security to be maintained in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for Cyprus’ territorial sovereignty amid growing tensions following the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, on Tuesday said it was watching developments in the eastern Mediterranean “with great interest,” and called for security and stability to be maintained in the region.
The Cabinet also reviewed the Kingdom’s progress among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which placed it first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world on legislative reforms relating to women.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program supports the implementation of reforms that enhance women’s role in economic development, raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness regionally and globally.
Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah said the Cabinet reviewed several reports on developments in regional and international arenas.
The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion during the fourth session of the Arab Parliament in Cairo that its policy is based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness, full respect for the sovereignty and independence of states, noninterference in their internal affairs, and its belief that these principles are capable of resolving all conflicts, foremost the Arab-Israeli conflict.

HIGHLIGHT

The Cabinet reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions.

The Cabinet also reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions and to “move forward toward the aspirations of security, stability and development of Arab countries and their peoples.”
On regional affairs, the Cabinet condemned an attack on a military site in Niger, the bombing of a security checkpoint and a tax collection center in Somalia, and the terrorist strike by Houthi militia on a mosque in the Marib governorate, which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.
The Cabinet session also authorized the minister of foreign affairs or his deputy to sign a draft protocol on establishing diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.
An agreement on social development between the the Kingdom and Tunisia was also approved along with a memorandum of understanding for scientific and technical cooperation with Spain.
The Cabinet also approved an agreement for scientific and geological cooperation between the Saudi Geological Survey and the Russian State Geological Company.