Saudi Arabia's King Salman has officially inaugurated the Haramain Express rail line on Tuesday.
The Haramain Express will be the first high-speed train to operate in the region. Trains travelling at 300 kilometres per hour will connect five stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City and Madinah.
The line's main purpose will be to transport pilgrims attending Haj and Umrah between Madinah and Makkah. The 450 kilometre journey, which can take up to six hours by bus, is scheduled to take just two hours.
The inauguration will be attended by officials, Islamic leaders, investors and representatives of the Al Haramain train project.
"This generosity comes as an extension of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ attention to transportation projects in the Kingdom," Nabil Al Amoudi, the Saudi Transport Minister, said.
The development represents the Kingdom’s efforts towards serving its the two holy mosques and their pilgrims, Mr Al Amoudi said.
"In line with the Saudi Vision 2030, the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman and other officials are committed to providing the highest quality of services to pilgrims – aiming to affirm the Kingdom's position in the Muslim world," the minister said.
The railway was built using the latest technology and most advanced materials by the Kingdom. A fleet of 35 trains will initially operate eight trips per day in both directions.
Each train will carry up to 417 passengers and the services hopes to eventually transport 60 million passengers annually.
The first train will depart on October 4 from train stations in Makkah Al Mukarramah, Madinah, Sulaymaniyah in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.
Services to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport are scheduled to commence by the end of March 2019. The train may eventually be linked to Jeddah's Islamic Pot and Makkah's metro.
Haramain high-speed train pulls into Jeddah after test run
British and UAE transport chiefs in joint plan to keep the country's railways on track