Friday, April 24, 2009

REDEVELOPMENT OF MECCA: Foster to design Saudi high-speed rail stations

Foster + Partners has been appointed the designer for four stations on the Haramain high-speed railway

In a joint venture with Buro Happold, the new project will link the holy cities of Mecca and Medina via Jeddah, Rabigh and King Abdullah Economic City on the Red Sea coast. It will offer a faster service for the millions of pilgrims conducting the Haj and Umrah pilgrimages.

The Saudi Rail Organisation is the client for the project, which has an estimated project value of $6 billion. Trains running on the 444km line are expected to reach 300km/h. The project is due for completion by 2013.

Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, said: ‘The Haramain high-speed rail project represents a major investment in sustainable public transport by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with potentially far-reaching social and economic consequences. The project will foster new social and cultural connections across the Kingdom’s western cities, and the design of the four new stations will support and symbolise this progressive approach.’

In November last year the AJ revealed that Foster was in the running to take on one of the most high-profile projects on earth – the redevelopment of Mecca’s central Haram mosque (pictured).