Jeddah, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Tuesday inaugurated a €6.7bn 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 450km 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. "The journey between the Haramain (two holy mosques) is now shorter and easier than at any time before," Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi told dignitaries gathered at the Jeddah station. "The project highlights the kingdom’s commitment to serving Islam and Muslims." Pilgrimage is the backbone of a plan to expand tourism under economic reforms announced two years ago by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to diversify the economy. The haj, a journey every able-bodied Muslim who ca...

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