Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2024

Incredible £603m train station that had to be rebuilt following devastating fire | World | News

A high-speed train station built to revolutionise transport in Saudi Arabia had to be shut down months after its launch following a devastating blaze.

The high-speed train station in the coastal city of Jeddah is one of the five stations operating along the Haramain High-Speed Railway (HHR) – a passenger railway linking the Red Sea coast to Islam’s holy cities Mecca and Medina.

The Jeddah Sulaymaniyah Haramain station cost £603million to be built in the late 2010s – but the work and funds went up in flames when a blaze erupted inside the Saudi infrastructure.

Flames devoured the station on September 29 2019. Firefighters, helped by air support, took 12 hours to bring the fire under control.

The fire started on the roof of the fourth floor and left 11 people injured.

Astonishing pictures taken after the devastating incident show how the fire managed to gut the station, with the ceiling partially destroyed and the escalators and train tracks filled with rubble.

Following the blaze, the station was closed for nearly two years, as it was relaunched in July 2021.

The fire caused major issues for the Haramain High-Speed Railway – a trailblazer in the Saudi transport industry – as it could not operate for two months, until the launch in December 2019 of a newly built station at the Jeddah airport – King Abdulaziz International Airport.

The railway line was suspended again in March 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, and resumed operation one year later.

This 280-mile high-speed line was designed to connect Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

The railway, the first of its kind in the country, was designed for a top speed of 220mph and a service speed of 190 mph.

Construction for the HHR began in March 2009 and took nearly a decade to be completed, as it was launched in September 2018 and began operating the following month.

The railway was designed to boost tourism and provide a fast connection for Muslims heading to Mecca to perform Hajj – the yearly pilgrimage to the city. The whole project costs a whopping £5.7billion.

The line counts four other stations besides the one in Jeddah – the Medina Station, the KAEC station in Rabigh, the Mecca Station and the King Abdulaziz International Airport station.

The design of each of these buildings has taken into account Islamic architectural traditions and counts VIP lounges, a helipad, mosques, restaurants and shops among other services.

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