Friday, January 21, 2011

Mecca's Metro MM

The city of Mecca has installed a rail system, known as 'Metro Mecca', using Chinese built trains with the aim of easing crowding for the approximately 2.5 million Hajj pilgrims who visit each year (the world's largest annual gathering of people).

During its first phase, Mecca Metro will link Mecca to Mina, Mount Arafat, and Muzdalifa, the holy sites visited by pilgrims retracing the steps of the Prophet Muhammad and Abraham {see wgaw: WHAT ARE THE OBLIGATIONS OF HAJJ?

One of the 12 lime green trains built to ease congestion of the 2.5 million pilgrims

According to the Associated Press the 18 km railway is currently only open to GCC nationals. Later in 2011, when the system becomes fully operational, non-GCC nationals will be able to ride the trains.

Men ride the newly opened Mecca Metro, November 2010

The US$2 billion rail system is currently operating at around 35 percent capacity; there are around 12 lime green trains, each of which can carry approx. 3,000 people. It is thought when the system is fully operational, later in 2011 around 500,000 pilgrims will be transported around Mecca using Metro Mecca.

Information and photos taken from the National Geographic, November 17, 2010

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