Mecca Municipality is due to appoint transaction advisers on the development of the Mecca Mass Rail Transit (MMRT) before the end of February.

Sources close to the project say that five bids were received from teams of legal and financial advisers and evaluation of their proposals had begun.

Development of the MMRT is progressing and a feasibility study is due to be complete by early March. After that the project will enter the design phase, although at present there is no designer appointed to start that work.

The MMRT will consist of four lines and it will run for about 113 kilometres around Mecca city centre with about 24 stations. The first line will be about 12km and will run from Jamarat station in the east, around the Grand Mosque to the station where the Haramain high-speed line will start in the west. The railway is intended to help transport pilgrims around the city, especially during the busy hajj period. The MMRT network will be able to transport about 100,000 passengers an hour.

The project is being handled by Al-Balad Al Ameen, the development arm of the Mecca Municipality.