Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway opens to public

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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (Al-Ekhbariya)
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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (SPA)
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Saudi passengers are seen at Makkah’s train station on October 11, 2018 as the new high-speed railway line linking Makkah and Medina opens. (AFP)
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Saudi passengers sit in the platform at Makkah’s train station on October 11, 2018 as the new high-speed railway line linking Makkah and Medina opens. (AFP)
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Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking Muslim pilgrims and other travelers between Makkah and Madinah. (Al-Ekhbariya)
Updated 12 October 2018

Saudi Arabia’s Haramain High-Speed Railway opens to public

  • During Hajj, the road journey between the two holy cities can take as long as 10 hours.
  • The SR60 billion ($16 billion) mega project is the biggest railway in the Middle East and will transport 60 million passengers a year.

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s new Haramain High-Speed Railway opened to the public on Thursday, whisking travelers between Makkah and Madinah through King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh and Jeddah.

Rumaih Al-Rumaih, chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), said: “It is a moment that marks a historical national turning point in the Kingdom’s modern transportation.”

The train will operate four days a week, from Thursday to Sunday. It is eventually expected to operate daily, by which time direct trips between Makkah and Madinah will take two hours, and trips between Makkah and Madinah stopping at Jeddah and KAEC will take an additional 20 minutes.

Al-Rumaih extended his thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their unlimited support.

He also thanked Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal for playing “a major role in supporting the project and in overcoming obstacles during the implementation phase.”

Al-Rumaih went on to thank Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi and all other partners for contributing to the successful opening of the largest railway project in the Middle East.

Saad Al-Shehri, director-general of the Haramain High-Speed Railway in Madinah, said the train’s first public trip started by carrying 417 passengers from Madinah to Makkah.

A train traveling in the opposite direction from Makkah to Madinah with stops in Jeddah and KAEC, carrying the same number of passengers, departed at the same time.

Tickets for the Haramain High-Speed Railway can be purchased online (www.hhr.sa), as well as over the phone (920004433) or direct from ticket offices between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. A discount of 50 percent is currently available.

The Haramain High-Speed Railway project is in line with the objectives of Vision 2030, as it should help increase the number of visitors to the Kingdom’s holy places. 

The railway is capable of transporting 60 million passengers onboard a fleet of 35 trains, each one consisting of 417 seats, annually. The trains, which can travel up to 300km per hour, are equipped with the latest technology to ensure comfort and safety.

The railway covers a distance of 450km, linking stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah (KAIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh, and Madinah.

The Kingdom is boosting its infrastructure spending and expanding its railways — a $22.5 billion metro system is currently under construction in Riyadh — as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

The annual Hajj pilgrimage, which will take place in September next year, attracts more than 2 million Muslims to the Makkah region.


Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

Nutrition is the most important part when it comes to bodybuilding, then comes type of exercise, and good rest. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2020

Saudi vegan bodybuilder slams diet myths

  • Ali Al-Salam, who stopped consuming animal products in 2017, says certain steps must be completed to have an athletic body

JEDDAH: The vegan diet has risen in popularity in Saudi Arabia in recent years and has been a constant topic of debate among Saudis, attracting the interest of many, including athletes.

Ongoing debates about whether the vegan diet is sufficient for normal people, let alone bodybuilders, abound, but one Saudi is answering them physically.
Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.
Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease, but other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.
Speaking to Arab News, 33-year-old Saudi vegan bodybuilder, Ali Al-Salam, who first started his vegan diet three years ago when he was suffering from high blood pressure, highlighted that the consumption of animal products is a deep rooted idea among bodybuilders and athletes.
“We always hear that in order to build muscle, we must consume animal products. In some parts of the world, there are people who can only have a small amount of animal products yet they live their lives healthily and comfortably and are not suffering from malnutrition — on the contrary, they have a lower level of chronic illnesses.”

When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.

Ali Al-Salam, Saudi vegan bodybuilder

He said it also opened his eyes to what goes on in the dairy and meat industry; he began researching in 2016 and decided to become vegan in 2017.
“I was just like every other athlete, I used to consume a high amounts of protein. I remember in the last days before turning vegan, I used to have 10 egg whites and a piece of steak for breakfast to fulfil my protein needs. This made me think, ‘is this the only way to consume protein?’ And from then on, I started researching and got introduced to the vegan diet at a larger scale,” he said.
“When I consumed meat and animal products, I suffered from high blood pressure; it was 190 over 110, and I wasn’t even 30 yet. Two weeks into the vegan diet, it went down to 150. The vegan diet did what couldn’t be done with medications for me.”
He explained that bodybuilding does not solely rely on protein, and that there are steps that must be completed in order to reach an athletic body. Nutrition is the most important part, then comes type of exercise, and good rest.
“When we talk about good nutrition, it does not just rely on protein. Yes, it is important, but the amount of calories in general is more important,” he said.
“Let’s say you needed 200 grams of protein, does that mean if you consumed 200 grams of it, you would gain muscle? No. You need all the basic nutrients to reach a certain amount of calories in general,” he added.
He highlighted that as soon as people register for gym memberships, they immediately look for supplements because they think they cannot reach the needed amount of protein.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Veganism is a lifestyle that excludes all animal products from diets, clothing or any other purposes.

• Over the years, a number of studies have found that people who eat vegan or vegetarian diets have a lower risk of heart disease.

• But other studies have also placed them at a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to the lack of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that reduces the risk of anemia and neurological diseases.

• Vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants.

• Animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.

“I’m talking about non-vegans here too, where their protein intake is already high. Marketing plays a big role here. People link protein to animal products because our society grew up with this idea as well.
“Can a vegan build muscle? Yes, when they eat right, exercise correctly and rest well. The misconception about protein stems from amino acids. People think vegan food lacks amino acids, and only animal products are full of them and that is far from the truth,” he added.
When comparing vegan athletes to regular athletes, he said vegan athletes have more endurance, strength and faster muscle recovery, because the vegan diet is rich in antioxidants which helps greatly in recovery, and because “animal products sometimes cause inflammation, that your body needs to recover from in the first place.”