One of the new Mashair Railway light-rail trains runs in Mecca, Saudia Arabia, the holiest city of Islam, in early November. The 11-mile (18-kilometer) railway will transport some of the millions of pilgrims who travel to Islamic holy sites during the annual four-day hajj.
The train is open only to Saudi Arabians and other Persian Gulf-state nationals until the system becomes fully operational next year, according to the Associated Press.
Saudi officials hope the Chinese-built train—also called the Mecca Metro—will ease crowding among the roughly 2.5 million worshipers who make the Mecca pilgrimage in any given year, the AP reported.
Part of a ten-year modernization plan for the ancient city, the railway will be joined by modern communication technology, green initiatives, and other urban-planning improvements, Mecca Mayor Ossama al-Bar told the AP.
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Di Roma, Korena. 2010. "Bright New Mecca Train Ferries Hajj Pilgrims". National Geographic Pictures. Posted: November 17, 2010. Available online: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/11/photogalleries/101117-new-mecca-metro-mashair-hajj-light-rail-train-world-pictures/