A high-speed railway connecting Makkah and Madinah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would become operational in September, as informed by the Spanish consortium building the project.
The railway connects the two holiest cities of Islam. The high-speed railway was expected to operate by the end of 2016. It had a cost overrun of two hundred and ten million euros, which the Kingdom has agreed to pay, as mentioned by the Al-Shoula consortium in a statement.
The railway would begin its operations in September with four trains per week until the daily service which would be offered by 2019.
In 2011 Saudi Arabia was given the contract of $7.1 billion to the consortium of twelve Spanish firms and two Saudi companies for the project. The project is aimed at improving the transport system between the two cities during the Hajj season.
The contract is one of the biggest one ever undertaken by Spanish firms internationally. It includes the laying of four hundred and forty-four kilometres of track line between Makkah and Madinah, providing thirty-five trains and the maintenance of the line for twelve years.
When the project would be completed it would be able to transport one lac sixty-six thousand passengers on a per day basis.
The project has been under many challenges that have resulted in increasing its costs, which has led to disagreements between the members of the consortium over who would take the responsibility of resolving them and paying for the cost overruns.
Crown Prince—Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit to Spain last month has played a significant role in resolving the disagreements over the delays in completing the project, as informed by Spanish daily El Mundo earlier on Thursday.