Millions of Muslims from around the world are making their way to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Transporting these pilgrims has been a very daunting logistical task.
Saudi Arabia introduced the Meshair railway system to beat the congestion at the Hajj. Operating at 35 per cent capacity for now, the train line will service the sites of Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat – indispensable to the pilgrimage – but it will not be going to Mecca.
For the immediate future, only Saudis and other Gulf country nationals can use the train. For those who can afford it, the weeklong Hajj ticket will cost just under $70.
The hundreds of thousands of other Muslims, who make up the bulk of pilgrims, will still have to contend with the rush hour by bus, by car, or by foot.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Garda reports from Mecca.