All aboard the pilgrimage express: $1.8B Mashaer Railway completed

Published September 10th, 2015 - 06:00 GMT

The Chinese construction company responsible for the Mashaer Railway at the holy sites has completed the project after six years.

China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) signed off on the project this week and handed it over to the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, according to a report published by an online publication.

The CRCC said the project was implemented in a short time using world-class technology. Over the past 16 months, it deployed 10,000 people to complete it. The first stage was completed in November 2010.

The railway has lines running over 18.5 kilometers and cost $1.773 billion. Nine railway stations and an area for parking was built. The train lines cross Mina, Muzdalifah and Arafat. Five trains can transport 72,000 passengers in an hour one way.

The project included the first contract in the Kingdom covering design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance. The project won the annual merit award of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers for 2012/13.

The company said it had provided 30,000 jobs for Saudi youth and ensured training and skills development for managers. It also trained about 2,000 Saudi students at various universities in the Kingdom. It has helped remove 12,000 buses from Makkah resulting in less traffic jams and reduced levels of pollution.

The company said that it successfully operated the train over five Haj seasons from 2010 to 2014 and transported 16 million pilgrims during that time.

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