Haramain high-speed railway
|Haramain high-speed railway|
Talgo 350 SRO during test run.
|System||Saudi Railways Organization|
|Ridership||50 million per year (expected)|
|Opened||11 October 2018|
|Operator(s)||Saudi Railway Company (with Adif and Renfe)|
|Rolling stock||Talgo 350 SRO|
|Line length||453.0 kilometres (281.5 mi)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Operating speed||300 km/h (190 mph)|
The Haramain high-speed railway (Haramayn referring to the two Islamic holy cities linked by it), also known as the Western railway or Mecca–Medina high-speed railway, is a 453-kilometre-long (281 mi) high-speed inter-city rail transport system in Saudi Arabia. It links the Muslim holy cities of Medina and Mecca via King Abdullah Economic City, using 449.2 kilometres (279.1 mi) of main line and a 3.75-kilometre (2.33 mi) branch connection to King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA), in Jeddah.
The rail line aims to provide a safe and comfortable transport in 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph) electric trains. Construction on the project began in March 2009, and was officially inaugurated on 25 September 2018. The line was opened to the public on 11 October 2018 with the first two trains, each carrying 417 passengers, departing from Makkah and Medina at 8 AM. According to the Saudi transport minister and General Transport Authority chairman Nabil Al-Amoudi, the railway is expected to carry 60 million passengers a year, including around 3-4 million, Hajj and Umrah pilgrims, helping to relieve traffic congestion on the roads.
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 construction company Bouygues. It is cooperating with the consultant Saudi Consolidated Engineering Company (Khatib and Alami). 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 Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and KAIA were awarded to a joint venture between Foster + Partners and Buro Happold. In February 2011 the station construction contracts were awarded to Joint Venture between Saudi Oger Ltd & El Seif Engineering for (KAEC (Rabigh) & Jeddah Stations), Saudi Bin laden (Mecca Station) and a Turkish Company "Yapi Merkezi" for Medina Station.
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, at 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 102/112 series used on Spanish high-speed lines for EUR 1,257 billion (1,600 with maintenance) and an option for 23 more for 800 million. They differ from the 112 series with 13 cars to 417 seats Renfe and Adif will operate the trains and manage the line for 12 years.
The double-track line is electrified and the design speed is 320 kilometres per hour (200 mph). Trains run in service at 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph), and travelling the 78 kilometres (48 mi) between Jeddah and Makkah takes 43 minutes, while the 449 kilometres (279 mi) between Makkah and Medina takes 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). It is expected that the train will transport 60 million passengers a year on 35 trains, with a seating capacity of 417 per train.
Saudi Railways Organisation commissioned Dar Al-handasah to prepare the concept design and tender documents of the Haramain High Speed Rail (HHSR) project. Dar Al-handasah was also assigned to the construction supervision and project management of the HHSR. Dar Al-handasah work on the HHSR incorporates one cut-and-cover tunnel, 46 rail bridges, 9 wadi bridges, and 5 rail underpasses, 53 vehicular overpasses, 30 vehicular underpasses, 12 camel crossings, 5 stations, and 3 depots to allow the rail to fulfil the needs of its users.
36 Spanish Talgo 350 SRO trains have been ordered, one of these is expected to include a Dual (hybrid) coach pair for up to 20 or 30 VIPs; they will run at 300 km/h. The propulsion and bogies were made at Bombardier factories in Spain.
There are five stations on the line at:
- Medina Station (King Abdulaziz Street-East)
- King Abdullah Economic City Station in Rabigh
- King Abdulaziz International Airport - opened 11 Dec 2019 
- Jeddah Station (Naseem)
- Mecca Station (Rusaiyfah)
The Makkah Central Station is located near the 3rd Ring Road, in Rusaiyfah District near the Rusaiyfah park and ride to the Grand Mosque. The Jeddah Central Station is located on Haramain Road, in Al-Naseem District. The railway alignment route is on the median of the Haramain road. Medina has a passenger station. A station, connected via branch line, is built in the new King Abdulaziz International Airport.
According to Saudi Railways Organisation the stations are "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.
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