Without motor-powered transport, traveling along the road from Jeddah to Medina to Makkah, home to one of Islam’s holiest sites, made for a ten-day trip on animalback.
Today, the once arduous and lengthy trip can be traveled via the Haramain High Speed Railway in under two hours.
Serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, devotees and civilians alike, the 453-kilometer-long high-speed inter-city rail transport system project in Saudi Arabia represents a vital expansion of the railway network, is also the Middle East’s number one project of the kind and ranks sixth in terms of size worldwide.
Trains operating on the railway have been equipped with latest signaling and communications system. A high speed electrified passenger line, primarily designed to provide a fast, comfortable, reliable and safe mode of transport, will connect the holy cities while running state-of-the-art technologies.
Named after prophets of Abrahamic religions such as Mohammad, Moses and Yunus, who once journeyed the same road, the high speed railway stations cover a distance dubbed the “Prophets Roadway.”
In total, the mega transport system project cost 60 billion rials and includes 35 trains, each of which can accommodate 417 travelers.
Each year, millions of Muslims undertake the Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah. Whilst the Hajj is preformed once a year and during a specific season, Umrah is undertaken completed at any time of the year.
Trains stop at five main stations located in Jeddah, Makkah, near the King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), Medina and Jeddah.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Haramain High-Speed Railway (HHSR) have signed an agreement to provide integrated transport services. Passengers will benefit from services such as an app to manage travel procedures and direct baggage transfer from HHSR stations to airports.
The deal was signed by the president of the Saudi Railways Organization, Dr. Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, and the general director of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, in the presence of officials from both organizations at a ceremony in Jeddah,.
The agreement will also allow the airline to open offices at the railway’s five stations. The deal for upgrading services offered to passengers by the Kingdom’s transport infrastructure is part and parcel of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.