New Haramain High Speed Railway transported over 2 million Hajj pilgrims

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Pilgrims are seen boarding a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
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Pilgrims are seen boarding a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
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A pilgrim on his way to Makkah is served Arabic coffee on the Haramain High-Speed Railway train in the holy city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (AP)
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Pilgrims are seen on board a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 August 2019

New Haramain High Speed Railway transported over 2 million Hajj pilgrims

  • The trains are operated by the Saudi Railways Company
  • More than 1,700 employees from different disciplines were working on the trains

RIYADH: The CEO of the Saudi Railways Company (SAR), Dr. Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, announced that 2,333,748 pilgrims have been transported on 2,170 train journeys.

He said that this comes as part of the safe and convenient transport plan that meets the aspirations of the Saudi leadership, especially after the Cabinet assigned SAR in May 2019 the provision of the train services, its maintenance and operation.

Figures published by SAR showed that 340,035 pilgrims were transported by the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro to Mount Arafat, over 353,434 were transported to Muzdalifah, 377,199 from Muzdalifah to Mina, and 1,246,422 to the Jamarat facilities during the days of Tashreeq.




The Haramain high-speed train takes just 3 hours to travel between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. (SPA photo)

SAR has devoted over 1,700 employees, including engineers, technicians, drivers and supervisors, for the operation and maintenance of the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro, which serves the pilgrims.

Al-Malik highlighted that “the harmony between SAR’s employees has contributed to the implementation of the operation plan according to the adopted mechanism and with high efficiency.”

He thanked the Makkah Region Development Authority for its effective role in operating the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro and serving the pilgrims. He also thanked Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman, and Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, for their keenness to serve pilgrims through ensuring the operation and maintenance of the metro.

The chief of SAR confirmed the readiness of the metro and the completion of corrective and pre-emptive maintenance and trial operations, in addition to the application of 23 presumptions that contributed to the success of the trains’ operation plan this season.


Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 14 min 46 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.