Jeddah – (IINA) February 06 – The company engaged to conduct studies for the construction of the Western Region railroad linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah and Rabigh has finalized the fares and duration of the trips. Accordingly, the price of a ticket from Jeddah to Makkah is SR10 and the rail ride will take 30 minutes. The fare from Makkah to Madinah, a three-hour 50-minute ride, is SR60. The Jeddah-Madinah fare is SR50, for a two-and-a-half hour journey.
The train stations in Jeddah are King Abdul Aziz Airport and Haj Terminal. In Makkah, two stations will be located at the holy sites. The train bound for Madinah will stop at Rabigh, where the station will be at the gateway of King Abdullah Economic City. The process of expropriating land for the railway routes has delayed project implementation. The delay is because some landowners have title deeds for properties belonging to the State, Arabic daily newspapers reported.
Regulations defining the tasks of the newly formed Railways Authority were endorsed by the Council of Ministers on Monday. The Authority is tasked with licensing rail transport service providers. It will also be engaged in drawing up laws defining the standards and technical conditions for use of the railway facilities and for protecting the interests of rail transport service providers. The Authority has the right to import goods for the development project without paying customs duties. The Minister of Transportation chairs the Authority’s board of directors who may also be represented by the authority’s governor who will be appointed by a Royal Decree. The board includes representatives from the Ministries of Transportation, Commerce and Finance in addition to three other members to be appointed by the Council of Ministers on the recommendation of the Minister of Transportation.
The authority has a legal status and is financially and administratively independent. It is headquartered in Riyadh and will have branches and offices within and outside the Kingdom. The Authority is mainly tasked with organizing railway transportation activities and ensuring operational safety. Its other responsibilities are: monitoring illegal competition in rail transportation, technically investigate any accident that may inflict losses on the railways, provide statistical data on rail transport services, and seek technical assistance and expertise of local and international agencies specialized in the field.