Saudi Gazette – Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region and Adviser to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said on Sunday that the Haramain Railway will address the problem of unplanned neighborhoods in the holy city.
“The railway project is instrumental in accelerating the governorate’s plan to solve this problem,” he said, pointing out that about 1,000 unplanned residences were demolished to build the Makkah railway station in Rusaifah district.
The emir made the remarks while making a tour to inspect the progress of work at railway stations in Makkah and Jeddah.
Transport Minister Abdullah Al-Moqbel, Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) President Rumaih Al-Rumaih and several other senior officials accompanied him.
Prince Khaled said high-speed railway will have experimental operation in 2016 and will be fully operational by the end of 2017.
“I am delighted to witness the progress and quality of work,” he said.
Speaking to reporters, Al-Muqbel said about 95 percent of work of the railway stations in Makkah and Jeddah have been completed while the station at King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh is ready for operation.
The 450 km railway, with fully electrified double tracks, is estimated to cost SR37.5 billion. The project includes trains traveling at a speed of 300 km per hour and fitted with the latest equipment. There are five ultra-modern passenger stations. There will be 35 trains and a special train for the elderly people.
According to SRO, the railway consists of two terminus stations in Makkah and Madinah, and two central stations in Jeddah and Rabigh, in addition to a fifth station at King Abdulaziz International Airport that is being built by the General Authority of Civil Aviation. A total of more than 5,470 real estates have been demolished for the implementing the project.
The implementation of the two phases of the project is going on simultaneously. The first part of the first phase is civil work for rail road, which is being completed by Al-Rajhi consortium while second part is railway stations. Saudi Binladin Group-led consortium is implementing the Makkah and Madinah stations whereas Saudi Oger-consortium is completing the Jeddah station in Sulaimaniyah district and the Rabigh station.
The Jeddah station will be the main station, with the central control room.
The second phase consists of laying of rail roads, installing communications and safety systems, and delivery, operation and maintenance of locomotives and rail cars. There are a total of 105 bridges and 571 crossings for the railway in Makkah region alone, the Saudi Press Agency reported quoting SRO sources.