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Jeddah-Makkah high-speed rail debuts for Indian pilgrims

In a historic first, around 32,000 Indian Hajis will travel by high-speed train directly from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport to the holy city of Makkah this year. Traditionally, pilgrims arriving in Jeddah have taken buses provided by Saudi authorities to reach Makkah.

However, the Consulate General of India in Jeddah has arranged special transportation on the newly launched Haramain High Speed Rail line in coordination with Saudi officials.

On May 26th, Ambassador of India Dr. Suhel Ajaz Khan and Consul General Mohd Shahid Alam accompanied the first group of Indian pilgrims on the landmark train journey from the airport to Makkah.

They were joined by Saudi Arabian Railways Vice President Eng Al Harbi and representatives from the Ministries of Haj and Transport.

The Haramain rail service, with trains capable of traveling up to 300 km/h, will cut the travel time between Jeddah and Makkah by half compared to buses on the road. This will provide a smoother and quicker transit for the Hajis after landing in Saudi Arabia.

Around 175,000 pilgrims from India are expected for this year’s Haj, with 140,000 arriving through the Haj Committee of India. The high-speed rail service aims to enhance convenience for a significant portion of them.

The Indian missions in Saudi Arabia have continually sought to improve travel facilities for its Haj contingent over the years. This latest initiative marks a new milestone in those efforts.

— Vinod Kumar (Spl Correspondent PB)

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