Rayan Al-Harbi, operations and maintenance director of the Haramain High-Speed Railway

Rayan Al-Harbi
Updated 09 August 2019

Rayan Al-Harbi, operations and maintenance director of the Haramain High-Speed Railway

Rayan Al-Harbi has been the operations and maintenance director of the Haramain High-Speed Railway (HHR) since December 2018.

Recently, Al-Harbi said that the train service’s capacity would increase to more than 150,000 pilgrims starting from the 10th of Dul Hijjah.

Al-Harbi said that the Haramain railway is one of the largest express transportation projects in the world. The length of the power lines on the train tracks is up to 12,000 km and connected to six giant power generators. 

Al-Harbi holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and graduated in 2008. He received a principle of railway operation license from Technische Universitat Dresden in 2010. He has also been a certified rail incident officer (RIO) since 2018. 

His career with the Saudi Railway Co. (SAR) began in 2009 as a signaling and telecommunication (S&T) resident engineer where he supervised S&T construction at Hail.

In 2013, Al-Harbi was promoted to S&T maintenance supervisor and a year later he became supervisor of the operations control center, where he provided leadership to the chiefs and train controllers and participated in developing a new rule book for SAR.

By 2016, he was officially settled in Riyadh as operations control center manager until he was promoted to head the HHR in 2017 to lead delivery of service demonstration during the soft opening. After becoming HHR director in 2018 his responsibilities have included overseeing train operations, maintenance and infrastructure, as well as marketing.


LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Amadeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Amadeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Amadeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Amadeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Amadeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.