The great train in Mecca
Train to the holy sites...
May 11, 2010
The Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro is an 18.1 kilometres (11.2 mi) long elevated metro under construction in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia for opening in November 2010. It is also known as the Mecca Metro, and is sometimes referred to as a monorail.
The metro will transport pilgrims between holy sites in Mecca, Mount Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina to reduce congestion caused by buses and cars during the Hajj. It will also carry pilgrims performing Umrah throughout the year. Once complete, the Saudis estimate 53 000 buses will disappear from the citys crowded roads, promising a safer, more comfortable pilgrimage.
The metro will open in November 2010, in time for the Hajj between November 25 and 29. It will initially operate at 35% capacity with automatic train protection to assist manual driving. A member of staff will be retained onboard once driverless operation is introduced in mid-2011.
The line will be elevated at a height varying between 8 metres (26 ft) and 10 metres (33 ft). It is designed to carry up to 72 000 passengers/hour/direction in time for the 2011 Hajj.
The initial line may be extended later to Al Haram and will be the first of a proposed five-line network which would connect the area to Jeddah airport and the future Haramain High Speed Rail Project high speed rail network.
1.Phase 1, The Pink Line, is a loop of four parallel lines between Mena, Muzdalifa and Arafat with three pick-up/drop-off stations at each place. The four-line loop splits into single tracks covering all the encampment zones in Mina. Mina will be the last station for the metro line and will be located towards the west of the Jamarat Bridge. The pink line will be linked to all the four floors of the bridge with elevators. The four parallel lines move south towards Arafat before reaching a main station next to the Arafat Mosque and splitting again into single-lines to carry pilgrims into Arafat. The lines come together again and move towards Muzdelefa where pilgrims will spend ceremonial time before returning to Mina. The line will run on a viaduct with the depot located at the end of the trail behind the first station in Arafat. A turnaround loop is planned between the last station and the depot. Passengers can transfer to the Red Line or the Blue line at Mena station. This line will be complete by November 2010.
2.Phase 2, the Red Line, is a straight link between Mena and Mecca.
3.Phase 3 and 3A , the Orange Line will connect Mecca to large multilevel parking facilities at Resaifah to the west and other parking facilities to the south.
4.Phase 4, the blue line, will connect Mena to the west side of Mecca through a big loop to the north. phase 4A is a straight extension south off the blue line loop.
5.Phase 5, the Yellow Line circles Mecca with a straight extension to the north, This line connects to the Red Line, the Blue Line and the Orange Line, thus facilitating continuous metro service between the parking areas and Arafat.
China Railway Construction Corp is responsible for infrastructure construction and systems integration under the 6.7 billion riyal phase I contract which was awarded by the Saudi Arabian government in February 2009 following a visit by President Hu Jintao of China.
CRCC will carry out construction of the project infrastructure and will integrate and subcontract various systems of the project.
Several subcontracts have been awarded. Brecknell Willis will provide lightweight aluminium conductor rails with stainless steel contact surfaces. These will supply 1500 V DC and a current draw of 3 000 A. Westinghouse Platform Screen Doors will supply the platform screen doors. Siemens will provide the power supplies, and WS Atkins is responsible for electrical and mechanical systems and project management. Thales will supply Seltrac Communications-Based Train Control, an operations control centre, CCTV, SCADA and passenger information systems. Systra will supervise the civil work, and Lloyds Register has been appointed as safety assessor.
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