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Fosters wins design for Saudi high speed train stations

Foster + Partners and Buro Happold joint venture has been appointed to design four stations along a new high speed railway line in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will link the cities of Makkah and Madinah via Jeddah. The Haramain High-speed Railway (HHR) is a major infrastructure project, conceived to forge new social and economic links by dramatically cutting journey times between the cities in western Saudi Arabia and by providing a new transport option for many of the pilgrims making the journey to the religious cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Passing via Jeddah and the King Abdullah Economic City, the new HHR service will be operated by state-of-the-art, high-speed trains, capable of reaching speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour. By providing an attractive alternative to the use of private vehicles, the scheme will considerably lessen the future impact of these journeys on the environment.

The HHR’s fast-track construction programme has led to a modularised approach to the station design with a high degree of prefabrication. While all stations will share a common planning strategy, each will have a distinct identity and building envelope to respond to the respective cities they serve. All will provide extensive facilities and a high quality passenger experience, with generous circulation spaces and segregated arrival and departure zones. The public areas – including platforms – will be environmentally controlled to enhance comfort and will have filtered natural daylight throughout.

Mouzhan Majidi, Chief Executive of Foster + Partners, said: “The Haramain High-speed Rail project represents a major investment in sustainable public transport by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with potentially far-reaching social and economic consequences. The project will foster new social and cultural connections across the Kingdom’s western cities, and the design of the four new stations will support and symbolise this progressive approach.”

Martin Walsh, Project Director at Buro Happold, said: “The HHR is a genuinely exciting and challenging project and one of the most important transportation initiatives in the Kingdom. The innovative scalable modular approach to the design of the stations will enable the speedy delivery of high-quality station buildings – fast-track in every sense.”

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