The new railway will allow millions of pilgrims to travel the 444km between the two cities at speeds of 320km/h. The line will cross desert, withstanding temperatures ranging from freezing to 50°C, as well as sand storms, flash flooding and shifting dunes.
Gérard Glas, rail sector head for Tata Steel, said: “Tata Steel is delighted to be contributing to this high-speed line, which will have to overcome some major challenges presented by building a high-capacity rail line across some of the most extreme terrain in the world.”
Work on producing the rail will start at the end of this year and is expected to continue throughout 2014.
Last year the Saudi Railways Organization awarded the contract for the final phase of completing, running and maintaining the Haramain high-speed rail project to a group of Spanish infrastructure, construction and technology companies.
The new line is expected to carry about 160,000 people a day and even more during the Hajj pilgrimage. They will be transported on a fleet of 35 new high-speed trains.
The project started in 2009, with an estimated cost of more than €12bn (£10.3bn). The new rail line is set to open to the public in late 2014 or early 2015.
Besides the two holy cities, the line will have three other stops: two in Jeddah for commuters and one in Saudi Arabia’s new King Abdullah Economic City, a residential, industrial and commercial complex that is still being built.
Spanish construction companies Copasa, Imathia and OHL are responsible for building the line’s superstructure and the track bases, as well as for the line’s systems.