Technical services provider TUV Rheinland has been selected to support the operation of the Al-Mashaaer al-Mugaddassah metro (Mecca metro) in Saudi Arabia for the third consecutive year.

The German-headquartered company will be working with the Chinese Railway Construction Corporation, and the Municipality and Rural Affairs Ministry, to support the running of the metro during the annual Hajj pilgrimage this year.

Having secured the railway operating licence and a safety certificate from the Saudi Railway Commission in 2011, TUV Rheinland was successfully commissioned again this year.

The scope of this year’s package includes depot equipment validation, verification and Saudi Arabian certification asssurance. It includes provision of training courses for new and returning staff tasked with managing and crowd controlling at the metro stations.

After a limited-capacity test run during the 2010 Hajj, the Mecca metro was used at full capacity in 2011. The metro line links the holy sites of Mecca, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah. It stretches across 18 kilometres and has a capacity to transport 72,000 passengers a hour.

Across the Middle East, investment is being poured into the urban rail sector, with at least $76.2bn of new projects planned or in execution.