Saudi's Haramain Express train offered first free trip with 200 citizens - in pictures
The new speed high rail service, capable of travelling at speeds of more than 300 kilometres per hour, will connect the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
The Haramain high-speed train in Saudi Arabia offered its first free trips as part of a test on Friday, transporting over 200 people from Madinah to Makkah. Saudi transport minister and General Transport Authority chairman Nabil Al-Amoudi was among those who travelled on the train’s maiden voyage. The trip also included a tour of the new train station, which includes an arrival and departure lounge, a VIP area and a mosque, as well as a civil defence centre, helipad and 1,000-vehicle parking area. Earlier this year, Saudi officials said the train will be fully up and running by September. According to Saudi officials, the train is designed to travel at speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour, making it the fastest train in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to connecting Madinah and Makkah, the train will also travel through King Abdullah Economic City and will include a shorter branch line to the new King Abdulaziz International Airport in nearby Jeddah. By the time the train is fully operational in early 2019, it is expected to carry 60 million passengers a year.