Saudi Arabia is all set to launch the “Haramain Express” — a new train service that will carry nearly 60 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims among other passengers a year — in 2018.
The project worth $16 billion and will launched later this year, said Minister of Transportation and Chairman of the Saudi Railway Organisation, Nabil Al Amoudi.
He said the new train service will be ready to serve the public this year after the relevant authorities would conduct the last check for safety and operational readiness, according to Gulf News.
The report did not mention a specific date of launch.
Electric impulsion will drive the trains to an effective speed of 300 kph that is more than Japan’s “bullet train” functioning with speed of 320kph.
The train is likely to shorten travel time to two hours between Makkah and Madinah instead of six hours by bus.
The network has also been organising regular trips in which officials of governmental, non-governmental and charitable bodies have participated.
The latest test was conducted on Friday, carrying senior officials on board from Madinah.
The Haramain high-speed rail project, known as the “Western railway”, is a 453-kilometre long (281 mi) high-speed inter-city rail transport system in Saudi Arabia.
It links Madinah and Makkah via King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), also Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA).
Madinah Governor Prince Faisal Bin Salman voiced appreciation to King Salman for his support of public transport (high-speed train) in the Kingdom.
The motive is to serve pilgrims of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
The train official said the Haramain Express will take transport to the next level, helping the Kingdom achieve its modernisation vision.
This article originally appeared on Gulf News.