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Jeddah's rail station soon to be operational
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 03 - 2015

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — More than 4,500 people, including engineers, technicians and workers are racing against time to apply the finishing touches to the Haramain Railway's Jeddah station within the stipulated period of two months.
The works on the state-of-the art station complex, with a fiberglass roofing, are expected to be completed by the end of April, paving the way for experimental operation of the 450 km high-speed Haramain Railway, linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and Rabigh, by the middle of the year.
Apart from relieving road congestion for millions of pilgrims and citizens, the high-speed railroad is expected to cut down the amount of time taken to travel between Makkah and Madinah to two hours, and between Jeddah and Makkah to half an hour. The railway is expected to carry three million passengers a year.
Zohdi Al-Owaiwini, director of the Jeddah station project, said that the station, spread over a sprawling area of 461,000 square meters, is unique in its features. It is equipped with highly advanced facilities to offer the best ever services and top standard comfort for the passengers, Al-Madinah daily reported.
There are 70 escalators, each 32 meters long, without any support in the middle, connecting the platforms and the lounge for passengers coming from outside Jeddah.
Al-Owaiwini said the escalators would be the longest of its kind in the Middle East region. There are 308 units of escalators at the station, in addition to similar escalators at all the other ultra-modern passenger stations in Jeddah airport, Makkah, Madinah, and Rabigh.
Finishing touches to offices and counters for baggage screening, passport control, and other services, as well as commercial shops, including world brand outlets of commercial stores, fast-food chains, and accessories are also progressing well.
Ahmed Gossa, construction manager at the station, said that the mosque, with a capacity of 600 passengers, is located at an ideal venue in between the arrival and departure lounges. The Civil Defense Center, which is sited adjacent to the station on the northern side, is nearly ready and will be handed over soon to the concerned authorities. There is a helipad close to the center to be used in case of emergency.
The parking area, situated on the western side, can accommodate 6,000 vehicles and there are separate areas for short time and long time parking. There is also a mechanism to link the station with the public transport system, which will be implemented in Jeddah in due course.
The Haramain project is over two years late and was originally planned to open in 2012 after construction had begun in March 2009. The Madinah-Rabigh section is scheduled for services by the end of 2015, suggesting a phased opening.

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