Saudi Arabia’s new high speed railway is expected to transport more than three million passengers a year and rising numbers of Haj and Umrah pilgrims, an official statement of the Haramain Highspeed Railway project said.
“It will bring about a dramatic improvement in the Kingdom’s transport system,” the statement said.
A successful experimental operation of the railway was held last month. “It will be launched next year,” the statement said without giving a specific date for the inauguration.
An unnamed railway project official was quoted by Saudi Gazette as saying that the trains would transport 20,000 passengers every hour. There will be trains between Makkah and Jeddah every 10 minutes while trains between Makkah and Madinah would be available every 30 minutes.
In addition to stations in Makkah and Madinah, the 480-km railway has five stations located in Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh.
The railway will operate seven trains per hour to and from Jeddah, two trains between Makkah and Madinah and four between Makkah and Rabigh. Each of the 35 electric trains, which were manufactured by Talgo, a Spanish manufacturer of intercity, will have 13 carriages and will run at a speed of 300km per hour.
“There will be a two-line railway between Jeddah and Makkah with a length of 78-km, reducing the distance between the two cities to less than half an hour,” the statement said.
The unnamed project official also said that the project, which is estimated to cost SR63 billion, would achieve 90 percent of its revenue in 12 years.