Saudi Arabia has awarded a $1.8 billion infrastructure contract to a consortium including a unit of China Railway Construction for a railway to the kingdom’s holy sites.
China Railway Construction subsidiary China Railway 18th Bureau Group and two Saudi firms, including Al Arrab Contracting are part of the winning consortium.
The transport ministry said Saudi Arabia expects the number of worshippers traveling to Mecca and Medina to more than double to 14 million per year by 2030 from 5.5 million in 2005.
China Railway’s share of the infrastructure works deal is 21.25%.
Arabian Business.com reports that the transport ministry said the trains, which would travel at 320 kilometers per hour, would reduce by more than half to two hours the length of time it takes to travel by car from Jeddah to Medina, Islam’s second holiest site.
It would also cut to 30 minutes the time it takes to transport worshippers from Jeddah to Mecca, home to the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest site.