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Video: Train service between Makkah and Madinah to resume

Video: Train service between Makkah and Madinah to resume

High-ranking Saudi official says service could resume within 30 days

Train service between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah could resume within 30 days, a high-ranking Saudi official has said.

The Haramain high-speed rail network will resume operations within 30 days, according to Saudi Minister of Transport Dr Nabil Al Amoudi. Rail service has been suspended since September 29, when a massive fire broke out at the Haramain train station in Jeddah.

A Saudi Gazette report says an alternative rail route is currently under construction, with work involving filling the area with soil and transferring electricity to allow for high-speed service. While the alternative route is under construction, the train will reportedly operate between Makkah and Madinah via the King Abdulaziz International Airport station and King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, located in the province of Makkah.

When the fire broke out at the Haramain railway station, videos posted to social media showed huge plumes of black smoke billowing out. Videos also showed firefighters – and firefighting helicopters – desperately trying to contain the blaze as at least a dozen people could be seen on the roof.

At least 11 people were injured in the blaze. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

READ: Huge fire engulfs new high speed rail station in Saudi Arabia

The Haramain station was opened last year as part of an initiative to connect the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah by rail with Jeddah. The 450-kilometre line was built at a cost of approximately $7.3bn. Trains on the line are capable of travelling up to 300 kilometres per hour.

READ: Saudi’s Haramain rail adds new trips to serve pilgrims ahead of Hajj

The rail project is one of many in the kingdom, themselves part of the much larger Vision 2030.

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