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Chinese built metro starts to shuttle pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

November 14, 2010 - Beijing

China has started its Mecca Metro, the first dual-track light railway in Saudi Arabia, on Saturday morning with an intention to ease the pilgrim traffic during the Hajj.

The 18-km light railway, with its initial number of nine stations, links between Mecca and the holy sites of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah and is designed to carry up to 72,000 passengers an hour, Xinhua reports.

The project is due to operate at 35 percent capacity in the first phase, and reach its full capacity by May 2011, according to the contract. However, the railway operated at over 50 percent of its final capacity when it rolled out on Saturday.

The 1.8 billion dollar railway is the first cooperation project between China and Saudi Arabia after the two countries singed an agreement in June 2008 to enhance cooperation on infrastructure construction. It is also the first light rail system built by Chinese companies in the Middle East.


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