Saudi Arabia set to open high speed rail line

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A map of the Saudia Arabia high speed rail line opening Monday.
Saudi Railways

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — A new high speed railway linking Islam’s two holiest cities is set to open in Saudi Arabia, hoping to address traffic issues for the millions of pilgrims that visit annually.

Al Jazeera reports that the 450-kilometer (280-mile) Haramian High Speed Rail System, with a top speed of 186 mph, will cut times between Mecca and Medina from more than five hours to two hours.

Commercial service begins Monday, and will serve five stations. Initially, there will be eight round trips daily, increasing to 12 at the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia signed an agreement in 2011 with a Spanish consortium to build the rail line, supply 35 trainsets, and handle a 12-year maintenance contract.

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