The Saudi Press agency is reporting that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will officially inaugurate the Haramain high-speed rail line on Tuesday. The new line high-speed train will link Jedda, Meccah, Madinah and King Abdullah Economic City.
The link, which is opening six years behind its scheduled date to begin operations, will span some 450 kilometers.
the original contract for $7.1 billion dollars was awarded to a consortium of companies in 2011. In 2016 The consortium, including firms Saudi Al Shoula and Al Rosa, in additional international partners from Spain Adif, Renfe, Inceo, Copasa and Cobra, agreed with the Saudi Government to finalize the rail link in early 2018.
Rumaih bin Mohammad, Chairman of the Public Transport Authority, said last week that regular service will begin on the 4th of October, and will operate from Thursday to Sunday, and service a variety of stations. The included stations to operate immediately were highlighted as Makkah Al Mukarramah, Madinah, Sulaymaniyah in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City. Future stage completions include plans to link the new rail system to Jeddah Islamic Port and Makkah’s metro system.
In March 2019, it is expected that additional rail link services will be provided to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport and will reach an annual capacity of nearly 60 million passengers when fully operational in early 2019.
It is estimated by Saudi authorities, that the new rail link will employ up to 3000 people, of which 70 percent will be Saudi Nationals.
Detailed ticket pricing for the new link were recently provided, with seats starting from SAR20 ($5.33) and increasing to SAR250 ($66.65) and vary depending on the length of the journey, in addition to the class of service purchased.
Estimated journey times were provided by the Public Transport Authority, highlighting the short travel times between locations. The fleet of 35 trains will operate 8 trips each day in both directions, and reach speeds up to 300 km/h. Each train can carry a maximum of 417 passengers.
Journeys between Makkah and Jeddah will take around 21 minutes, Jeddah to King Abdulaziz Airport 14 minutes, King Abdulaziz Airport to Rabigh 36 minutes and Rabigh to Madinah 61 minutes. Travel between Makkah and Madinah will take less than two and a half hours.
The kingdom has been very active in the development of many rail projects across the country, including the Riyadh Metro (one of the largest infrastructure projects in the world), which is scheduled to begin operations in 2019.