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Saudi issues 'final warning' on high-speed rail project

A unit of the new high-speed train is loaded onto a freighter in Barcelona on December 12, 2014, bound for Jeddah City in Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia has given a “final warning” to avoid delays on an $8.2 billion high-speed rail project which Spanish and Saudi firms are helping to build. The Haramain High Speed Rail system is to transport Muslim pilgrims, as well as regular travellers, 450 kilometres (280 miles) between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina via the Red Sea port of Jeddah. Saudi Arabia signed a deal three years ago for a Spanish consortium to build the rail track, supply 35 high-speed trains and handle a 12-year maintenance contract. The Saudi Bin Laden Consortium and Saudi Oger Joint Venture received contracts for four stations, while Al-Rajhi Alliance in 2009 won the bid to construct bridges, culverts and similar work.

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