Siemens: Systems for Saudi Arabian railway
Erlangen, Germany – A consortium composed of Siemens and the Nour Communications Company of Saudi Arabia has received an order from the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) to upgrade the infrastructure of the Saudi Arabian railway network. Siemens will equip the line between Dammam and Riyadh with signaling and safety equipment, a GSM railway network and a video monitoring system for the railway crossings. The total track length is about 1,000 kilometers. The order is worth 91 million euros, with Siemens share of the contract being 59 million euros.
The heart of the signaling and safety equipment is a Simis electronic interlocking. Trainguard 100 for ETCS Level 1 will be used as the train protection system for the first time outside Europe and the operations control center will be equipped with a Vicos-type workstation. In addition, Siemens is supplying Simis LC railway crossings which are each equipped with a video monitoring system (CCTV). The modern technology to be installed will increase safety, enable greater route utilization and will also make train operations more economically efficient and flexible. The systems have a modular design and can be adapted to the operator’s special requirements and the conditions of the route. Siemens will also be responsible for the maintenance of the signaling equipment.
In future, train drivers, conductors and station masters will also be able to communicate with each other in the whole network of routes via GSM Railway (GSM R), the new mobile system from Siemens Communications. In contrast to the walkie-talkie system currently in use, GSM R supports conference calls between multiple people, for example, and assures a stable connection, regardless of weather conditions. Moreover, the train driver does not have to dial a number to contact the control center of the nearest station; he only has to press a single button on his GSM R cell phone. Siemens is supplying all the components needed for setting up and operating the GSM R network such as switches, base stations or service and administration platforms. Apart from installation and commissioning, Siemens will also provide services such as personnel training and system maintenance over the next five years. For the Siemens Communications Group, the world’s leading supplier of mobile solutions for rail communication, this order means a breakthrough for GSM R in the Arabian area.
The Saudi Arabian railway network consists of two lines, which connect the port of Dammam with Riyadh, the capital, in the centre of the country. A 556 kilometer route for freight transportation was built in the 1950s and a 449 kilometer route for passenger services was built in the 1980s. SRO carries around 850,000 passengers per year and transports cargo amounting to approximately 850 million tonne-kilometers. At the moment, there are plans to expand the railway network; the Saudi Landbridge Project involves construction of a 115 kilometer-long connection between Dammam and Jubail and an extension of the Dammam-Riyadh route by 950 kilometers as far as the port city of Jeddah. This would create a direct railway link right across Saudi Arabia, from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea.