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Mashair on track to help Haj pilgrims

Prince Mansour bin Miteb, minister of municipal and rural affairs, center, is briefed by an engineer on the operation of the Mas

Source : Badea Anu Al-Naja | Arab News
Makkah | 14 Jun 2011

Municipal and Rural Affairs Minister Prince Mansour bin Miteb on Tuesday inspected the final phase of the Mashair Railway project that links the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. The project will bring about dramatic improvement in Haj transportation.

Speaking to reporters after the inspection tour, Prince Mansour said the railway would operate with its full capacity during the upcoming Haj season expected to begin on Nov. 4. During the last Haj season only 35 percent of its capacity was utilized.

Accompanied by senior officials including Habib Zain Al-Abideen, undersecretary at the ministry and Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar, the minister visited Station No. 1 and the control room where engineers briefed him on its facilities and operation.

Earlier speaking to Arab News, Al-Abideen said fieldworks and stations for the railway have been completed 100 percent. He said work was now continuing to establish remote control for the trains, which would be completed by Ramadan. “Automated running of the train will start from the coming Haj season,” he added.

Al-Abideen said work on the project had started in December 2008 at the cost of SR6.65 billion. “The train represents a pivotal stage in the history of transport in the Kingdom,” he said.

Al-Abideen said the train would resolve transport problems at the holy sites and would later be linked to the network of trains in the Kingdom and neighboring countries. “The train is capable of transporting a large number of pilgrims in a very short time,” he said.

Al-Abideen said the train would have five lanes from Mina to Arafat, Muzdalifah and the Haram. The train would pass through three stations in Muzdalifah, the beginning of Mina and the fourth floor of the Jamarat Bridge, he explained.

He said pilgrims would not have to walk for more than 300 meters to reach the train stations at any of the holy sites. “There will be electric cars at each station to carry the sick, the disabled and elderly pilgrims,” he said.


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