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Hijaz railway mulls introducing transport service to airport

By Muath Freij - Jan 18,2015 - Last updated at Jan 18,2015

AMMAN — An initiative launched by the Jordan Hijaz Railway Corporation (JHRC) to transport passengers to Queen Ali International Airport (QAIA) during the recent snowstorm is under study to be turned into a permanent service, JHRC Director General Salah Lozi said Sunday. 

During the blizzard that hit the Kingdom earlier this month, the railway transported a number of passengers to QAIA at no charge so they would not miss their flights, Lozi told The Jordan Times. 

“When meteorologists revealed the day of the snowstorm, we were ready to transport passengers until the storm was over,” he noted, adding that they were transported to the Jiza station, which is one kilometre from the airport. 

“There is no railway track between the Jiza station and the airport, but there is a piece of land where a possible track could be constructed in the future,” Lozi explained. 

He said one locomotive and four carriages were used to ferry the travellers during the blizzard. 

“We transported 70 passengers for free and it took them one hour and 15 minutes to reach to the airport.”

Lozi said the JHRC will meet this week with Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji to discuss the possibility of providing this service once a day. 

The Hijaz Railway was constructed in 1908 with the aim of transporting pilgrims to Medina. Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II called on Muslims around the world to collect donations to realise the project, which cost five million gold Ottoman liras.

The Hijaz track, which was designed by some 17 German engineers, is 1,303km long, connecting Damascus with Medina via Amman and Maan.

The track never made it to Mecca because work was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I.

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