The Haramain train is one of the best ways to travel from Makkah to Medinah, it is also one of the safest and most convenient options available for when you are going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah.
The Haramain train is a high-speed railway that connects Makkah, and Medinah, the city where the Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque is situated. This train is specifically designed to accommodate pilgrims traveling for Umrah.
One of the major advantages of using the Haramain train is its speed and efficiency. With an average speed of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour), the train completes the journey between Makkah and Medinah in just a few hours. This is much faster compared to other modes of transportation such as buses or private cars, which can take several hours longer.
The convenience of the Haramain train cannot be overstated. It offers a direct and hassle-free journey from Mecca to Medinah. Pilgrims can easily access the train stations, which are conveniently located near the holy sites in both cities.
My experience using the Haramain Train from Medinah
Train travel is my favourite way of travelling as I find it much better to be able to see the landscape of a country.
Over the years since the train started, it has become even more popular. I found the whole process of train travel easy and fast. I didn’t have to worry about a tired taxi driver like when I went first to Medinah for my Umrah and I also didn’t have to spend 4 extra hours in the airport just to fly back to Jeddah and then drive to Medinah.
The train stations were new and very comfortable. We travelled in business class which is a little more expensive but offers more comfort and space.
The train stations that operate are the Makkah, Medinah, King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah (KAIA), and King Abdullah Economic City station. The Jeddah station is still not operational due to a fire a couple of years ago.
There are between 20/30 daily routes depending on travel time and they leave every hour almost with more available during Ramadan.
We had booked business class tickets for the whole family, which was about 240SAR per adult and then 140SAR for a child from 2 to 12 years old.
The tickets were easy to book online and I am glad to find that they have actually updated the train website and made it easy to book and change tickets.
For some reason though, every time we paid the site seemed to come to a run out of time even though the payment and tickets went through. Therefore keep this in mind if you are having the same problem.
The business class seats were very comfortable, according to my husband who came on the way to Medinah in economy they are much better than the economy seats.
In both cases, the train was twin which meant that there are two trains connected.
When you go to the train stations please go about 30 minutes before your train is ready to depart as you will need to show your tickets and also go through security. Which is basically a scanner check of yourself similar to the airports.
They don’t mind if you have water or anything else, but apparently, they did take my husband’s perfume which was more than 100ml. Though the huge bottle of water I had was fine. Seats also have screens and tables and they recline
The train departed exactly on time and reached a speed of up to 300km/h.
However, even at this high speed, it was very smooth, which I am very thankful for. In the UK although I love train travel I can get sick due to the shakiness of the train. In this instance, I didn’t feel it.
The cabin was clean and comfortable and it felt very nice to actually travel, it also felt that time went so fast as 1hr and 40minutes later we were at Jeddah airport.
Of course, if you are travelling to Makkah you take another 50 minutes to enter the city.
Personally, I think this is the best way to travel from Medinah to Makkah or Jeddah because it is much more comfortable than a plane, car or bus.
Everything is new, works on time and it is very comfortable. I will definitely be travelling again. It was also much fast than travelling by plane from door to door.
We saved approximately 2hrs this way and it was way easier, especially with a child that could look outside, walk around and play on her seat with more space around her.I had booked a flight from Jeddah to Medinah due to the fact that it was cheaper to have this stopover in Medinah than a return ticket alone! I will be writing an article on this soon.
How to Book the Haramain Train from Makkah to Medinah
Booking the train for Umrah is very easy and the website works well. You can book tickets that show availability up to 4 /5 weeks in advance.
The official train website is below, as it seems there are some copy options too.
I do hope they will add a bigger calendar option when they start operating at full capacity and speed.
How much do the Haramain train tickets cost?
The train tickets for the Haramain train have actually been reduced in price. They also made them fluctuate depending on the time you travel and with a peak and off-peak option. Some have 50% off and others 35% and then full price
If you want to save money I would recommend you go through the daily options to find the cheapest price.
By Western standards, the prices are very reasonable for the route and train options. Considering the same train in the UK is more expensive.
- A one-way ticket at full price in economy costs £39 / 175 SAR per person and children pay half price.
- A one-way ticket at full price in business costs £60 / 285 SAR per person and children pay half price.
You can also find prices for the train depending on the time you travel with 50% off at 87SAR / £18.50 in economy and 187SAR / £39 in business class.
Train Timetables for Makkah and Medinah
As I mentioned there are many trains leaving daily from both Makkah and Medinah so finding a train option convenient for you should not be a problem.
The number of trains per day varies depending on how busy it is, for example, Ramadan and school holidays there are more train options.
I know for many people especially large families this can seem expensive and they prefer hiring a car. We have a post with other methods of going to Makkah or Medinah but please keep in mind the convenience, ease and safety of the train. Taxi drivers sometimes can get very tired and Saudia driving is a little crazy.
Here are the rules for 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 about one hour or 30 minutes before the train departs.
High-Speed Train Timetable and Cancelling / Changing tickets
Below are the timetables as an example for Mecca for September 2023. As you can see there are many train options starting from early morning to late at night night.
I have needed to cancel and refund tickets on the train. The process was pretty easy. I didn’t see an option to change the tickets only the option to cancel them.
Once cancelled you will get a refund but note it might not come in 14 days which is standard in the UK. Ours came a few months later.
Where are the stations located in Makkah and Medina?
The Makkah Haramain Highspeed train station is located about a 10-minute taxi drive from 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.
The train station is pretty easy to get to with a taxi that you can either order on Careem or some of them are always stationed outside. The train station is located close to the Medinah Gate city ( which I assume is a new city development being built). Prices are approximately 30SAR one way.
Also from Makkah train station to Haram, there is a free shuttle bus services that will leave you in the masjid area. You can then walk to your hotel.
Train Location at Jeddah International Airport Terminal 1
The train is located right outside the new Jeddah Terminal 1 airport.
Personally, my advice is, if you are travelling to Mecca from Jeddah airport take a taxi that will take you directly to your hotel. This way you will avoid getting on and off at the train station. A taxi to Makkah takes approximately 1,5hr and costs around 150 SAR / £30.
You can easily locate the kiosk and pay for your taxi. There is a full reel I have created with the information.
If you are travelling from Jeddah Airport to Medinah the train is the best option you will arrive in under 2 hours.
The location of the high-speed train in Jeddah airport is just outside the terminal. If you go down to the taxi rank it is just opposite, the big building you see once you exit.
There are several people who you can ask, but you simply cannot miss it, it is only a 3-minute walk.
Baggage on the Haramain Train
There is a restriction on how much baggage you can take on the train. You can only usually take one suitcase and one small hang luggage.
This is what comes straight when you want to book your ticket on their website
If you keep to the sizes and weight, as they do check those at the entrance of the train. You will not have a problem. If you are travelling with larger bags or more than one, I would recommend you get a porter. They cost only around 30/50SAR with tip and they are known to be able to get through with more bags.
You can find the porters at the entrance of the train station.
If you don’t want to go through the porter option they might ask you to send your luggage to you later in the day. Like a freight service. This doesn’t happen often but I have heard cases.
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).
There are luggage holders like in the UK trains that you can use for your suitcases but if as I mentioned above you have more bags they might ask to put them in a separate hold and you pick them up at the destination. This is so it doesn’t take up space in the cabin. The airport and the train station are very convenient and similar to the UK style.
Haramain train use for Umrah
Again the easiest way to hassle-free Umrah is the train.
Note the journey is 2.30hrs 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.
Upon leaving the Medinah train station we were informed that the Meqaat would be after 10min. This is the only time it was mentioned, so you could enter the train and put your Ihram straight away. Or you can also wear it prior to the train departing.
If you want to stay in Jeddah and use the tourist visa to explore the city the best way is to take a taxi to your hotel. Corniche is around 30min away but note that traffic can be bad between 3 to 7 pm.
The Haramain high-speed train is the safest, fastest and most secure way to travel from Makkah to Medinah.
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 on the SAPTCO VIP service.
We also have an article with the rest of the transportation options for Umrah in Saudi.
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 30 million pilgrims per year.
It is a great way to go to 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.
My DIY Umrah book also offers a lot of tips on how to save money on your Umrah.
DIY Umrah E-Book
Imagine going for Umrah, standing in front of the Kabah without having to pay thousands on flights, accommodations or agents.
In my DIY Umrah E-book, I share with you how you can save thousands every time for every trip. It truly changes the way you travel.
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