Mecca, KSA – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken another step to modernize Islam’s holiest city of Mecca. Now worshippers can conduct their tawaf, the circumambulation of the Kaaba required during Umrah and Hajj, at speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour. This after the Saudi government unveiled a high-speed train that races in a circle seven times before screeching to a halt.
The Kingdom has been rolling out high-speed trains to address logistical transportation challenges experienced during the Hajj, and feels “The Tawaf Express” streamlines the fulfillment of a cornerstone ritual required of every pilgrim.
“There is no logistical aspect of Hajj that cannot be addressed by a high speed train,” said head engineer Khaled El-Sharouf. “Getting from Medinah to Mecca, high speed train. Doing Tawaf, high speed train. Doing ablution, high speed train with showerheads. Holding dissenting journalist accountable, high speed train… equipped with high speed bone saw of course…”
Not without failures, the train has derailed 1,456 times within the first 24 hours of operation, thanks in part to the massive centrifugal force exerted by the five-star luxury hotel in each car, and a soaring clock tower in tow.
On Tuesday, the braking system failed as 250 passengers were stuck on the train for 2 hours.
“We kept going and going, and went around the kaaba 2,500 times,” said one pilgrim from the United Kingdom. “That’s like 350 umrahs.”
Most other passengers were unavailable to share their experience with Islamica News, as many suffered whiplash or severe nausea and had to be rushed to nearby hospitals… on high speed train of course.