Haramain High-speed Railway (HHR) Project. Haramain could be translated as 'The Two Sacred Mosques', referring to Masjid al Haram (the sacred mosque) in Mecca and Masjid al Nabawi (the Prophet's mosque) in Medina, as the line unites the two cities, the destination of Islamic pilgrimages.
Al Shoula is the Spanish-Saudi consortium (12 Spanish and 2 Saudi companies) that was awarded the tender for phase two (construction and exploitation) of the Haramain Project. Renfe is the largest shareholder with a 26.9% stake. Our Saudi subsidiary, called Renfe KSA, has 443 employees (400 Saudis, 3 Indians, 2 Pakistanis, 2 Hispanic-Arabians and 36 Spanish ex-pats), one third of its workforce are women, and the average age of its employees is 28.
Al Shoula won the tender in October 2011. The first journey took place in October 2018; by May 2019, there had been a thousand journeys; and February 2020 saw the first million passengers. Interestingly, and given the special characteristics of the destination, the trains are equipped with sand blowers, special anti-abrasion paint and air conditioning equipment to withstand high temperatures along the route, which can reach 55 degrees Celsius.