King Salman inaugurates Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway

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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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One of the new Haramain train stations that were inaugurated on Tuesday. (CIC)
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King Salman (L) and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (R) oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
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One of the new Haramain train stations that were inaugurated on Tuesday. (CIC)
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King Salman oversaw the services that will be available to passengers when the railway opens to the public next month. (SPA)
Updated 26 September 2018

King Salman inaugurates Saudi Arabia’s Haramain railway

  • The King oversaw the services that the railway will offer passengers when it opens to the public next month
  • The network will carry 60 million passengers a year with a fleet of 35 trains

JEDDAH: King Salman launched the Haramain High-Speed Railway, the biggest electric speed train project in the Middle East, at Jeddah’s Al-Sulaymaniyah station on Tuesday.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, adviser to the king and governor of Makkah, along with senior officials and dignitaries.

The ceremony concluded with the king taking the train to Madinah. The train was captained by a Saudi national driver, Abdullah Al-Ahmadi. 

Minister of transport, Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, delivered a speech saying that the Kingdom had always been proud of serving pilgrims. “The two holy places are now closer than ever,” he said.

He added that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had directed the implementation of comprehensive work plans for the transport industry in the Kingdom. He said that the leadership had supported the project to overcome all obstacles so that it could meet the growth in the number of pilgrims and visitors to the two holy places of Makkah and Madinah.

The Haramain High-Speed Railway project is in line with the objective of Vision 2030, the main goal of which is to increase the number of pilgrims and visitors to the holy places, he said. Transport is a main pillar of the national economy and a key driver of the economic renaissance that will take place under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 strategy. 

Al-Amoudi presented a picture to the king, which showed King Abdul Aziz with King Saud at the launch of the first railway project (East Train) in the Kingdom in 1951.

Rumaih Al-Rumaih, chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) and acting president of the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO), said that supervision of the project had ensured the operational efficiency of the project and all facilities were of the highest quality. “We were keen to introduce a trustworthy project that reflects the Kingdom’s care for pilgrims and visitors of holy sites, as well as the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Al-Rumaih added that despite the technical and topographical challenges encountered during the project, the Al-Haramain train was one of the great achievements for the service of pilgrims and Umrah performers.

Al-Rumaih told Arab News that the train can annually transport 60 million passengers onboard a fleet of 35 trains, each one consisting of 417 seats. The trains are equipped with the latest technology to ensure comfort and safety.

As for women’s participation in the project, Al-Rumaih said that the government was working to provide jobs for young men and women. “Women are the other half of the society and we can see them one day driving our trains,” he told Arab News.

With a speed of 300 km and hour, Al-Rumaih said that the train would cover a distance of 450 km, linking stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah (KAIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh and Madinah.

The SR60 billion ($16 billion) mega project went through three stages before screens could display journey timetables at the stations. The first stage, which was carried out by a consortium of national and international companies, started with the construction of 130 bridges and 850 water channels, a process in which some 150 million cubic meters of sand and rocks were removed to prepare the route for the train.

The second stage involved the construction of four stations in Makkah, Jeddah, Rabigh and Madinah. The construction of the fifth station, at the KAIA, was part of the airport project. 

The third stage involved the construction of a railway line and the importation of the systems for signals, controls, ticketing and telecommunication.


Saudi Arabia wins praise for showcasing ancient cultural heritage

Updated 14 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia wins praise for showcasing ancient cultural heritage

  • It has introduced Saudi and Arab heritage to more than 5 million people across the world

RIYADH: Alessandra Capodiferro, director of the National Roman Museum, on Monday, expressed pride that her museum was hosting the exhibition “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages.”

The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah on Nov. 26, has already been hosted by a number of prominent international museums.

Capodiferro praised the international reputation achieved by the exhibition, which features many important artifacts, including hunting gear, weapons, jewelry, utensils made from precious metals, glass, alabaster, ceramics, sculptures and wall paintings — all of which are an expression of local production, trade exchange and cultural contact.

She said that the most important achievements of the research conducted in the Kingdom over the decades by Saudi specialists and archeological missions, including those headed by Italian teams, revealed the rich history of the Arabian Peninsula mentioned in ancient literature. Excavations conducted on these missions have led to the discovery of a significant number of artifacts dating back to several epochs — prehistoric, ancient, Roman Imperial and late antiquity.

The exhibition highlights the successive civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula, and provides examples of cultural interaction between Arab and Roman civilizations. It will continue for three months in Rome, its 17th station. Hosted in the most prominent international museums in European, American and Asian cities, it has introduced Saudi and Arab heritage to more than 5 million international visitors.