Renfe train

Mecca-Medina rail link sees record breaking Ramadan ridership

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The high-speed rail link between Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia reported a remarkable milestone during the month of Ramadan, with a record-breaking 1.09 million passengers transported. This achievement was part of the special service program implemented by the Haramain High-Speed Railway to cater to the transportation needs of pilgrims visiting the two holy cities.

The railway consortium, in collaboration with Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) and Renfe’s Saudi branch, operated 3,163 train services from March 11th to April 13th. This represented a 41 per cent increase over the regular schedule, with an impressive 97.4 per cent punctuality rate. Notably, this surge in services aimed to accommodate the influx of passengers during Ramadan, with the number of daily services rising from 66 to 93.

Moreover, the Saudi high-speed train system saw a surge in passenger numbers in March 2024, hitting over 851,250 passengers, the highest monthly figure since its inception in October 2018. To enhance passenger convenience, night trains were reintroduced during Ramadan, departing at 3:00 am and arriving at 5:25 am, catering to pilgrims’ travel needs post-iftar.

In response to the unique requirements of Ramadan, the railway service adjusted its schedules to align with prayer times, offered promotional deals to attract group bookings and families, and established a dedicated reception centre at the Medina station to facilitate passenger transit.

The Haramain High-Speed Railway’s commercial activity has been steadily growing, with 2023 witnessing a record-high 6.97 million passengers, marking a significant 90 per cent increase from the 3.67 million passengers in 2022, the first full year post-COVID-19 pandemic.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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Mecca-Medina rail link sees record breaking Ramadan ridership | RailTech.com