Haramain High Speed Rail Project
|Haramain High Speed Rail project|
|Type||High Speed Rail|
|System||Saudi Railway Organization|
Phase I under constructionPhase II under construction
|Opening||planned: December 2016|
|Operator(s)||Saudi Railway Organization (with Adif and Renfe)|
|Rolling stock||Talgo 350|
|Line length||449.2 kilometres (279.1 mi)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Operating speed||up to 320 km/h (200 mph)|
The Haramain High Speed Rail project also known as the "Western Railway" or "Mecca-Medina high speed railway", is a 449.2 kilometres (279.1 mi) high speed inter-city rail transport system under construction in Saudi Arabia. It will link the Muslim holy cities of Medina and Mecca via King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah, and King Abdulaziz International Airport. It will connect with the national network at Jeddah.
The rail line is planned to provide a safe and comfortable transport in 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph) electric trains. Construction started in March 2009. The railway is expected to carry three million passengers a year, including many Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, helping to relieve traffic congestion on the roads. 
The double-track line will be electrified and the design speed is 360 kilometres per hour (220 mph). Trains will run in service at 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph), and travelling the 78 kilometres (48 mi) between Jeddah and Mecca will take less than half an hour, while the 410 kilometres (250 mi) between Jeddah and Medina will take about 2 hours. The track, rolling stock and stations are designed to handle the temperatures ranging from 0 °C (32 °F) to 50 °C (122 °F).
There will be five stations on the line at: Medina (Knowledge Economic City) at the north end of the line, King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah's city center and Mecca in the south. The Mecca Central Station will be located near the 3rd Ring Road. The Jeddah Central Station will be located on the Haramain Road. The railway alignment route will be on the median of the Haramain road. The Station in KAIA will be a terminus station. Medina will have only one passenger station. A station may be required for the Hajj Terminal at Jeddah Airport.
According to Saudi Railways Organization the stations will be "aesthetically iconic" buildings with designs which take into account Islamic architectural traditions. They will have shops, restaurants, mosques, car parking, a helipad and VIP lounges. Stations were designed by Buro Happold and Foster + Partners.
The 6.79 billion riyal (US$ 1.8 billion) design and construction contract for Phase I Package 1 – Civil Works for the project was awarded in March 2009 to Al Rajhi Alliance, which comprises China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), Al Arrab Contracting Company Ltd, Al Suwailem Company and the French power and rolling stock company Alstom Transport. It is cooperating with the consultant Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib & Alami - K&A). Scott Wilson Group will provide project management support.
Phase I Package 2 covers construction of four of the five stations. In April 2009, $38 million worth of design contracts for the stations in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and King Abdul Aziz Airport were awarded to a joint venture between Foster + Partners and Buro Happold. In February 2011 the station construction contracts were awarded to El Seif Engineering contracting company (Makkah and Madinah) and Saudi Oger (Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City).
Phase 2 of the project includes the remaining infrastructure not included in Phase-1: track, signalling, telecommunications, power, electrification, etc. It also includes procurement of rolling stock and operations and maintenance for a period of 12 years after completion.
On 26 October 2011, the Saudi Railways Organization announced that the Saudi-Spanish consortium Al‑Shoula Group, which includes Talgo, Renfe, Adif, Copasa, Imathia, Consultrans, Ineco, Cobra, Indra, Dimetronic, Inabensa, OHL, AL-Shoula and Al-Rosan, had been chosen for the contract. Talgo will supply 35 Talgo 350 trains similar to those used on Spanish high speed lines, with an option for 23 more. Renfe and Adif will operate the trains and manage the line for 12 years.
- Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro
- Arab Mashreq International Railway
- Hejaz Railway
- North South Railway (Saudi Arabia)
- Transport in Saudi Arabia
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- "Phase 2". Saudi Railways Expansion Programme. Saudi Railways Organization. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- "ADIF participation in phase 2.". Retrieved 29 may 2011.
- "Adjudicado al consorcio español el contrato de alta velocidad en Arabia Saudí" (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 October 2011.
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- Saudi Railways Organization
- Haramain Saudi-Spanish Alliance (Spanish)
- Haramain High Speed Rail Project video
- Mecca Central Station Project video
- A rough map of the project using Google Maps