Haramain high-speed train ready for launch

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Saudi Gazette

Jeddah — Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) on Tuesday conducted the first complete trial run of the Haramain high-speed train from Jeddah to Madinah.

Reaching a speed of 330 kph, the new train could cut travel time between the two cities down to as little as 90 minutes. The new 12,000 horsepower electric locomotive would save as much as 120 minutes of the current commute between Jeddah and Madinah.

Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz, deputy emir of Makkah region, Minister of Transport Sulaiman Al-Hamdan, a team of Spanish officials along with Saudi Railways Organization officials, experts from Saudi Rail Road and local and international media representatives were present onboard during the trial run.

Saudi Railways Organization is currently conducting tests to check the compatibility of all components of the high-speed system.

The trial run of the aluminium Talgo coaches started at Al-Sulaimaniah station in Jeddah at 1:00 p.m. and the train which carried around 470 passengers raced toward King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Rabigh. After a stopover of about 1 hour 15 minutes the train left for Madinah at 3:00 p.m., eventually reaching the Prophet’s City at 4:15 p.m.

The train traveled at speeds between 300-330 kph during the 90-minute run between the two cities.

The Haramain high-speed rail line is a 450km network connecting the Kingdom’s two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via stations at the new airport in Jeddah and at King Abdullah Economic City near Rabigh. It has been designed to reach speeds of up to 360kph.

“We are fully prepared for the official opening. Everything is in working order. The train will officially come into operation as soon as Saudi officials give us the green light,” said Mariano De La Vega, project manager of Talgo.

Eng. Nayef Fawaier, rolling stock liaison manager of the Haramain high-speed railway project of German DB (Mobility Networks Logistics), noted that Saudi Arabia is expecting to receive around 35 high-speed trains. So far 11 trains have arrived and they are ready for operation.”

Abdullah Al-Ahmadi, Saudi train driver, expressed his happiness at being the first Saudi train driver.

“I was trained in Spain for this type of train,” he said.

Al-Ahmadi and nine other Saudi drivers completed a training program in Spain to drive such high-tech trains.

Train was met on arrival at Madinah station by the Deputy Emir of Madinah Prince Saud Bin Khaled.


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