The Haramain High-Speed Train announced the resumption of trips starting next Wednesday, March 31 2021. This is very exciting as it is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get from Makkah to Jeddah and Medinah.
Al Haramain opening again March 2021
First I have to say I am super excited because train travel is my actual favourite way to explore a country.
There are few options for you to get from Makkah to Medinah for Umrah and we cover all of them extensively here. Now that the train is added this is a much safer and faster way of reaching the Holly cities.
In November 2020, the Al -Haramain train had been suspended and it didn’t operate. It was announced that the train will now start operating again from the 31st of March 2021.
The train stations that will operate are the Makkah, Medinah, King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, and King Abdullah Economic City station. The Jeddah station is still not operational due to a fire a couple of years ago.
However, if you are planning Umrah ( with everything going to plan and Saudi opening again for this) you will be able to use the train, from the NEW airport terminal ( which hosts only Saudi airline flights) to get to Makkah and Medinah.
There will be almost 30 daily routes operating with more available during Ramadan.
How to Book the Haramain Train from Makkah to Medinah
They have updated the calendar in some cases you can now book for up to a month in advance. This is great news and makes it easier to plan your trip. Note that below is the official link to book your train.
I do hope they will add a bigger calendar option when they start operating at full capacity and speed.
Currently, the train doesn’t operate in full capacity or speed. The achievable speed is about 300km/h but at the moment it is around 200km/h.
The train takes 3 hours from Makkah to Medinah.
The classes and seats are comfortable and it’s new and clean. In my books, these points totally win.
The price of the ticket is not cheap by Saudi standards but by European standards, it is a good value considering the benefits of comfort, speed and safety you have.
- A one-way ticket in economy costs £35 / 160 SAR per person and children pay half price.
- A one-way ticket in business costs £55 / 263 SAR per person and children pay half price.
For a family of 5 this can add up and I can see the benefit of taking a taxi overspending nearly double the price of a train ticket.
Makkah to Madinah train schedule is available below, there are 4 trains per day.
The Medinah to Makkah train schedule is below and there are also 4 trains per day.
Here are the rules of the ticket and how long in advance you have to be at the train station.
Please note that if you go during rush hour depending on the location of your hotel you might need extra time. Also if you don’t have a ticket take this into account as well.
Overall you can go to the train for about one hour or 30 minutes before the train departs.
Baggage on the Train
It looks like you can only have one bag per person plus one hand luggage as with most airlines.
I wouldn’t get too caught up in the dimensions as long as they are OK for planes they should be OK for trains!
However, it also seems according to their T&Cs that even in business it is only 1 baggage per person
- Any passenger provided with a ticket may carry with him, under his custody and responsibility, in the places designated for that purpose, one piece of hand baggage and one-piece are limited to 25 Kg not exceeding 65 x 55 x 35 cm. (length-height-width).
Where are the stations located in Makkah and Medina?
The Makkah Haramain Highspeed train station is located about a 10-minute taxi drive from the Haram.
You can find the Makkah train station details here.
The Medinah Haramain train station is located about 10 minutes from Masjid Al Nabawi as well.
You can find the google map location for the Medinah train here.
I like the fact that they are centrally located stations so it doesn’t cost a lot in a taxi to reach your destination.
Haramain train update 2020
The train used to stop in Jeddah Central station, however last year there was a major hire and the train is not operating now. We are not sure when they will start again. At the moment you can take a train from Jeddah airport however this is only in the new terminal and for those flying with Saudi airlines.
There are more airlines that will start moving into the terminal from March 2020 but read and check if your airline will be moved there before you make any booking for the train.
Otherwise, you will have to take a taxi from the old North Terminal to the new terminal to catch the train.
Now the train stops from Makkah to Medinah in the airport, the economic city and then Medinah so it still takes around 3 hrs.
You don’t have to change trains but keep this in mind if you go to Jeddah and wonder whether you took the wrong train. 🙂
From Jeddah airport to Makkah it takes just over 1 hr.
Also please note the journey is 3hrs and it doesn’t stop at a Meeqat if you are travelling for Umrah from Medinah to Mekkah. So make sure you wear your ihram and have your intentions from before or while on the train.
Currently, there are 3 daily trains from Jeddah airport to Makkah, 4 trains from Jeddah airport to Medinah and 3 trains from Makkah to Medinah.
If you want to stay in Jeddah and use the tourist visa to explore the city please note you will have to take the train to the airport and from there a taxi to the city which is about 20min away.
The Ultimate Guide on How to Do a DIY Umrah; (Do-It-Yourself) Umrah
The Safest Travel option when for Umrah
The Haramain high-speed train is the safest, fasted and most secure way to travel from Makkah to Medinah.
At the moment if you want to visit the Holly cities you can take a taxi which can be dangerous with exhausted drivers on the motorway and there are many traffic accidents. Personally, I don’t like taking taxis as I have seen some crazy driving.
The other option will be the SAPTCO bus which is also cheap but takes about 5 hours to get to Medinah from Makkah. We have an article on this here.
In my opinion, the train from Makkah to Medinah for Umrah is a real contender and it does go with the Saudi vision for 2030 and having 30million pilgrims per year.
It is a great way to go for Umrah and be in comfort, especially with young children.
My best advice and the fastest option I can see for this is if you do an open jaw flight where you arrive in either Medinah or Jeddah and then fly from the other city. This way you only need a one-way ticket on the Haramain train from Makkah to Medinah or vice versa.