One of the new Mashair Railway light-rail trains runs in Mecca, Saudia Arabia, the holiest city of Islam, in early November. The 11-mile (18-kilometer) railway will transport some of the millions of pilgrims who travel to Islamic holy sites during the annual four-day hajj.
The train is open only to Saudi Arabians and other Persian Gulf-state nationals until the system becomes fully operational next year, according to the Associated Press. (See pictures: "Inside Mecca.")
Saudi officials hope the Chinese-built train—also called the Mecca Metro—will ease crowding among the roughly 2.5 million worshipers who make the Mecca pilgrimage in any given year, the AP reported.
Part of a ten-year modernization plan for the ancient city, the railway will be joined by modern communication technology, green initiatives, and other urban-planning improvements, Mecca Mayor Ossama al-Bar told the AP.
—Korena Di Roma
Pictures: Bright New Mecca Train Ferries Hajj Pilgrims
New lime green light-rail trains launched in early November transport Muslim pilgrims to Mecca and other holy sites during the annual hajj.