The Mashair Railway that links the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and
Muzdalifah to Makkah is one of the latest high-tech projects to be
implemented by Saudi Arabia to serve the guests of God, reports
According to the leading Saudi English daily, about 30 to 50
percent of the Mashair Railway (also known as the Makkah Metro) is
to be used this Haj season, said Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Al-Khodairy,
undersecretary at the Makkah governorate.
Costing SR6.5 billion, the new railway has the capacity to
transport 72,000 pilgrims an hour. Nine stations have been
constructed in Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah, each with three
This is the second largest project to be implemented by the
Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs after the SR4.5 billion
high-tech Jamrat Bridge project in Mina.
Habib Zain Al-Abidine, deputy minister of municipal and rural
affairs, said the railway will have 10 trains in the first phase,
each 300 meters long. “Each train will carry 3,000 passengers.”
The railway will reduce the time it takes for pilgrims to move
from Arafat to Muzdalifah to five minutes on the 9th of Dul Hijjah.
It will also take pilgrims five minutes to move from Muzdalifah to
Mina on the 10th.
Zain Al-Abidine said the railway would operate throughout the
year. The second phase of the project will link the Mashair
Railway with the Grand Mosque in Makkah with a station on Umm Al-Qura
Road. It will also be linked to the Haramain Railway that will
connect Makkah to Madinah and Jeddah.
The railway will have 20 trains in the next stage, each with 12
carriages and each carriage holding 250 passengers. About 20
percent of passengers will be seated while 80 percent will be
standing. Trains will move at speeds between 80 and 120 km/hour.
Abdul Qader Al-Jabarti, chairman of
the Haj Committee, said more than 150,000 pilgrims from Saudi
Arabia and other GCC countries will use the facility during the
first phase. “These pilgrims account for 73 percent of domestic
pilgrims,” he said, adding that all pilgrims, including locals and
foreigners, would be able to use the railway during the second
phase of the project.
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