The Haramain High Speed Railway Network, or ‘Mecca-Medina High Speed Railway’, is a 449.2km high-speed rail transport system linking the cities of Makkah and Medinah in Saudi Arabia, with through stations in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

Makkah, the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, is considered to be the holiest place in Islam. Every year the city attracts about 2.5 million pilgrims who converge on the city for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals. At other times of the year Muslims may undertake an Umrah or lesser pilgrimage to Makkah. The rail network is designed to provide high-speed connections for the pilgrims between Makkah and the Saudi main business centres. With a capacity to carry 50 million passengers a year, the stations are designed to serve up to 20,000 passengers per hour during peak periods.

According to architects Foster + Partners: “The stations are built using a modular approach, with design elements that are common to all stations along the route. … The vaulted roof and walls contain small openings that draw beams of daylight down to the concourse level, carefully controlling the intense glare from the sun and creating a calm, atmospheric and well-lit environment.”

The scope of this project was to undertake day lighting analysis for the lightpipe system to be installed in King Abdullah Economic City Railway System. Inhabit’s role on the project included optimising the materials, documenting the performance and assisting the contractor in ensuring the lightpipes met the design intent.
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