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Saudi Arabia Opened High Speed Train

Saudi Arabia Opened High Speed Train

Saudi Arabia has opened a high speed train linking the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The $16bn project is part of efforts to boost tourism revenues as the country seeks to shed dependence on oil exports.

Mohamed Fallateh the director of Second Phase said, "The Haramain train project connects the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic city. The project is for citizens and residents and it also aims to serve pilgrims throughout the year. The project is huge, the biggest transportation project in the Middle East. It will eventually serve more than 60 million travellers annually. "

The 450 km Haramain Railway is one of the largest transport projects in the Middle East targeting nearly 60 million passengers annually. It's also big business for Saudi Arabia. The Haj season and the Umrah pilgrimage generate billions of dollars in revenues from worshippers' lodging, transport, gifts, food and fees.

The new rail link was built by a Spanish-led consortium and financed by the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund. It halves travel time between the two holy cities and commercial operations are set to begin next week.

Samer Allozi the director and customer relations said, "I expect that the pilgrims would be more than happy with this shift as it will facilitate easy access between the three main cities especially the two holy cities Medina and Mecca."