Renfe is a majority shareholder in the Spanish-Saudi consortium Al Shoula, where 12 Spanish and 2 Saudi companies have designed and built the first high-speed line of these characteristics in the Middle East, also taking care of its operation and maintenance since 2018 with current record utilization figures in the historical series.

Haramain could be translated as "the two holy places", in reference to Masjid al Haram (the sacred mosque) in Mecca and Masjid al Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque) in Medina, since the line links these two cities, the destination of Islamic pilgrimages.

Main characteristics

  • Line length: 453 kilometers, double track electrified at 25 kV ac.
  • Five stations: Makkah, Jeddah, KAIA (King Abdulaziz International Airport), KAEC (King Abdullah Economic City) and Medina.
  • Maximum commercial speed: 300 km/h (ERTMS level 2).
  • Park: 35 Talgo-Alstom trains, 13 cars, 417 seats with two classes and 1 VIP train.
  • Frequency: A minimum of 44 trains per day (20 each way) with reinforcements depending on demand, reaching more than 130 during peak periods such as Ramadan or the Hajj.
  • Renfe KSA (the Saudi branch of Renfe) has 750 employees: one third of the staff are women and the average age of the employees is 28 years.

Haramain currently carries an average of more than 500,000 passengers per month.
In total, since 2021, the Renfe KSA high-speed service has carried more than 8.5 million passengers with an average punctuality of almost 96% and an increasing trend.

Given the special characteristics of the environment, the trains are equipped with sand blowers, special anti-abrasion paint and additional air conditioning systems to withstand the high temperatures of the route, which can reach 55 degrees Celsius.


Women machinists

In 2022, Renfe began training 32 Saudi women to become train drivers for the Haramain high-speed train.

After 1,200 hours of theory and practice, the first applicants obtained their driving license in December 2022 and were assigned as commercial train operators for the first time in history of a high-speed train in the Middle East.

Renfe's female train drivers in Haramain are between 22 and 30 years old and are all Saudi nationals. A total of 28,000 women registered for the selection process and more than 14,000 passed the first online aptitude tests.

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