Saudi Arabia METRO STATION IN RIYADH CITY
COURTESY OF THE EMBASSY OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
MAKKAH-MEDINA RAILWAY LINE COMPLETED As of this September, the Muslim most holy cities of Makkah and Medina are connected by a high-speed double-track rail line. The 453-kilometer long Haramain High Speed Rail project links these two cities via the King Abdullah Economic City and King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. It is also in Jeddah that the network is connected to the existing rail transport in Saudi Arabia. The new rail line, under construction since March 2009, was planned to provide a safe and comfortable transport in electric trains traveling at 300 kilometers per hour (190 mph). It is expected to carry three million passengers a year, including many Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, helping to relieve traffic congestion on the roads. The Haramain High Speed Project was considered an urgent need primarily because of the growing number of pilgrims year after year, the Umrah performers, as well as visitors and residents who come to Makkah and Medina throughout the year, particularly during the seasons and holidays. As reported by Arab News, Dr. Nabil Al-Amoudi, minister of transport and chairman of Saudi Railway Organization and Saudi Railways Company (SAR), took the first full journey of the high-speed Haramain train on December 31, 2017. The non-stop journey went from Medina station to Makkah station to examine the readiness of the project before commercial operation of the service. Minister Al-Amoudi said that this project is of strategic importance and has attracted global attention as it is one of the mega public transportation projects linking the two Holy Mosques.
KING ABDULAZIZ INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT EXPANDED Located 19 kilometers to the north of Jeddah, the busiest airport of Saudi Arabia, named after King Abdulaziz Al Saud, was inaugurated in 1981. The airport is known for its Hajj terminal, which was specially built for Islamic pilgrims going to Makkah annually and can handle
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80,000 passengers at the same time. The facility is currently being expanded and once the expansion is completed, the King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) will be one of the largest airports in the world. According to the Saudi Gazette, the expanded airport’s official opening, following experimental operation, is set for January 1, 2019. The new airport, designed to accommodate more than 80 million passengers annually (in 2016, the airport handled a record 31 million passengers), provides greater space for passengers and airlines and extends better services following international standards. Apart from being the main gateway of pilgrims coming to perform Hajj and Umrah from all over the world, KAIA plays a significant role in providing quick connections to domestic and international destinations. “It’s set to become an economic center and an outstanding cultural landmark in the Kingdom. It will boost the country’s social, economic and commercial development in the coming years,” a business analyst was quoted by the Gazette. The airport’s new terminals cover an area of 670,000 sq. meters. There are currently 46 air bridges for passengers to board flights which will be increased to 96 bridges at a later stage. The airport project includes a five-star hotel, shopping centers, a public transport system, an advanced communication center, a railway station for the Makkah-Medina Speed Train and 60 kilometers of baggage conveyer belt. THE RIYADH METRO A rapid public transit system is under construction in the Saudi capital Riyadh. Once completed, it will consist of six underground
lines spanning a total length of 176 kilometers, with 85 highly equipped stations boasting cutting-edge technology, which will offer an outstanding experience for those visiting the city. The Riyadh metro network is designed according to the latest international standards, with a driverless operating system and central control room. The project, expected to cost USD 22.5 billion to build, is scheduled for a light opening in 2019 and the entire network is expected to be fully operational in 2021. These six lines cover most of the highly populated districts, government facilities, educational and commercials outlets. It is connected with King Khaled International Airport and King Abdullah Financial District, all major universities, the city center and the Center of Public Transit. The metro cars have state-of-the-art specifications and are divided internally to serve different categories of passengers (Singles/ Families and VIPs), they also have passenger information systems. Metro stations are intended by the operators to be “places where all Riyadh citizens will gather while traveling around the city. A unified architectural design for all stations will contribute to the aesthetic level of the city.” Riyadh metro stations are to be environment friendly and come with solar cells, which will contribute in generating 20% of the required electricity. They are also fitted with wireless Internet access. Many stations have commercial outlets and food courts as well as other services. The Riyadh metro project has five interchange stations that allow passengers to swiftly change between metro lines and are integrated with the bus network.
MAKKAHMEDINA RAILWAY VISUALIZATION
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9/25/18 4:58 PM