Saudi Arabia‚Äôs King Salman has inaugurated a ¬£6bn high-speed rail linking the two holiest cities in Islam, part of efforts to boost tourism revenues as the country seeks to shed dependence on oil exports.
The 450-km (280-mile) Haramain Railway connecting Mecca and Medina with the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah is one of the largest transport projects in the Middle East, targeting nearly 60 million passengers annually. Commercial operations are set to begin next week.
‚ÄúThe journey between the Haramain [two holy mosques] is now shorter and easier than at any time before,‚ÄĚ Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi told dignitaries gathered at the Jeddah station. ‚ÄúThe project highlights the kingdom‚Äôs commitment to serving Islam and Muslims.‚ÄĚ...
To get back to the high speed railway in Saudi Arabia, it is indeed sad to see the great zeal and determination of this fanatical Muslim country to aid the Muslim pilgrims from all over the world to get to their pilgrimage destinations in Mecca and Medina.
Ironically, it was the very ancestors of these Saudi Arabians who assisted the British, under the famous maverick soldier Laurence of Arabia, in the First World War, between 1914 and 1918, to completely destroy the predecessor of this railway, known as the Hejaz Railway, in several guerrilla operations, against the Ottoman Imperial Turks who ruled what became Saudi Arabia at that time.
The Turks had used the railway extensively for military supplies to get them to the front, and Laurence of Arabia and his Arab guerrilla forces blew the railway up in several places, thus frustrating the Turks and causing their defeat in Arabia. The railway was not as far as I am aware ever rebuilt, that is until now.
The British rail system in previous times was rubbish and the butt of many a joke.
Today it has changed - And is much much worse!!
Britain is going down the tubes in all of its institutions.
That's what you get for rejecting God's Holy Laws and witness.
Deuter 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. 19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out."
I agree, Neil. It was a great ride and sure beat driving.
My flight home was faster, but the amount of hassle associated with air travel and the sheer discomfort of a partially air conditioned plane, cramped seats, no communication, extra cost for luggage, etc, etc, really made Amtrak worth the trip.
You have a good point about the federal government subsidy and "operation," although without it Amtrak would have to fimd a better way to bring passengers aboard. The train I took was packed, though, and seemed like everyone's best kept secret.
The Quiet Christian wrote: YIA, I rode Amtrak a few years ago...
So did we. Superliner coaches have to be one of the quietest, most comfortable modes of travel anywhere.
Although I like trains, I still have a beef with Amtrak: the Fed. gov't had no business founding it, with or without its $2bn annual subsidy. The subsidy implies that the majority of American travelers have voted down railways, except in densely-populated areas like the NE Corridor. And I say that should be operated privately or by an interstate consortium of some sort.
The discussion reminds me of a song on the radio from time to time "Life is Like a Mountain Railroad." (I don't agree with the song's theology so much but appreciate the sentament.)
While there are many ways to move people and freight, there is only one way to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Pilgrimages by anyone anywhere aren't going to amount to anything, unless someone either leads you to Christ on your journey or perhaps the Lord strengthens your faith in Him through your journey.
YIA, I rode Amtrak a few years ago due to a family emergency. Compared with the pain of flying, it was a joy. Free WiFi and no restrictions on cell phone usage. No prohibitions on getting up and moving. Reasonable fares to where I was going. Nice scenery along the way. I flew back home, and it was the most uncomfortable, cramped flight I've endured.
Youth in Asia wrote: I think investment in commercial trains has completely declined in North America
How so? Definitely not in freight railroading! The Economist magazine declared that America's freight railroads are the most efficient in the world, after Carter signed the Staggers Rail Act in 1980, which deregulated them after decades of stifling ICC control. It was estimated by AAR that shipping costs have been halved since the Act was passed. If anyone can contradict this with more current info, I'd love to hear it.
This is one reason why Asian imports are so inexpensive here; intermodal shipping is a significant portion of traffic, bound for a Costco or Walmart near you. Out here, UP has invested heavily in dual-track mainline, and in Flagstaff, it's hard to sleep with the steady flow of BNSF freights all night.
By the way, American freight locomotives have been making inroads in the European market, after the British found out how good their availability rates are.
Youth in Asia Wrote: "What do you guys think about the railway in your country, do you use it to get around? I think investment in commercial trains has completely declined in North America."
Hi YiA, we have commuter trains that run from Boston down to southern most Rhode Island, so those are convenient, and the subways are limited to Boston. As far as an actual railway, such as Amtrak, they run here as well, but I've never taken one for any long distance travelling because they are so much more expensive than flying, etc., and take far longer, obviously. Our transit system is pretty decent with trains, subways, taxis, busses, and of course, Lyft and Uber, etc.
For those of us who don‚Äôt drive, there is no option but to use public transport. London is excellent, and fully integrated though transport is overcrowded, and my OAP London Oyster travel pass now covers bus, tram, (basically central Croydon in south London and outlying districts), DLR (Docklands Light Railway - small driverless trains in East and a little bit of South London in the former now highly developed Docklands), Tube, and local suburban trains.
Some other major cities are also very good, but the country services in Britain are very poor, and trains and buses are very infrequent and expensive.
The privatisation in both buses and trains in recent years, has actually not proved helpful at all. It was bad under state ownership, but it is worse under private ownership, and the railways are not integrated, as the track and trains are run by totally separate companies in a franchise system.
Unfortunately, Youth in Asia, you are correct except for the Northeast Corridor as they call it, and on the West Coast rail travel is not very common and the US. There is also some rail traffic to the outside of the main cities such as Chicago but they don't go outside of town that far.