Work underway on Hijaz Railway

Today’s Zaman - Work to resurrect the 100-year-old Hijaz Railway is rapidly continuing with the collaboration of officials from the countries traversed by the railway. The total length of the Hijaz Railway, running from Istanbul,Turkey to Medina, Saudi Arabia will be in excess of 3,000 kilometers. The railway will become a lifeline reinvigorating trade in the region and bringing peoples and cultures closer together, a Turkish official said. Transportation Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Suat Hayri Aka said the General Directorate of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) had taken the initiative in launching the project but underlined that Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia need to work together to bring it to fruition. Aka underlined that Turkey had already started work on high-speed train projects from Thrace to Konya, adding that work in Syria and Jordan will begin in 2010 and that the railway will be completed in Saudi Arabia in 2012, at which point the journey from Istanbul to Medina will take only 24 hours by rail.