Thales has signed a two-year contract with the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) to maintain the signalling, telecommunication and electromechanical systems of the North South Railways project (NSR). This contract also includes the transfer of knowledge to SAR local teams and complies with KSA Vision 2030.
The NSR project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the longest railway in the world equipped with state of the art technology signalling and communications systems, the ETCS1 Level 2. The project, currently in operation, involved the construction of 2,400 km of track, sidings, yards, depots, stations and administrative facilities of the two lines. NSR transports passengers from the capital city of Riyadh to Al Haditha (near the border of Jordan) and freight from Wa’ad Al Shamal (phosphate mine in the Northern border province) to Ras Al Khair (Arabian gulf).
The maintenance activities will be performed by Thales through specialised engineers and technicians located across eight maintenance bases situated along the 2,400 km of railway line.
The contract includes the transfer of knowledge, which will be performed through a curriculum of training at Thales’ factories in the kingdom. This will allow SAR maintenance teams to gradually take over the maintenance activities for the duration of the two-year contract.
Coupled with this, Thales will support the Saudi Railway Polytechnic, established in Buraydah (Qassim Province capital) through a partnership between SAR and The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC). The Polytechnic will train 1,500 students aged 18-21 years over the course of five years, providing vocational qualifications in health & safety, mechanical, electrical & civil engineering, signalling & telecommunications, rolling stock maintenance and train driving. Thales has simulated the NSR systems in Saudi Railway Polytechnic laboratories which will be used for the training programmes.
Jean-Yves Tolot, Country Director for Thales in Saudi Arabia said: "Throughout its historic presence in the Kingdom, the Group has developed very strong cooperation with local industries and universities to speed up the transfer of knowledge, know-how and capabilities. In line with KSA Vision 2030 and NTP 2030, this project further illustrates Thales commitment to ensure the SAR maintenance are able to continue in their efforts long after our contract expires and contribute towards the Kingdom’s success.
"This contract win further solidifies our footprint in the Kingdom. Along with our partners we have established a solid industrial network to provide maintenance and services to our customers in the kingdom," he added.
In addition to the partnership with SAR for the deployment and maintenance of its railway network, Thales provides maintenance services across all solutions and systems in use by significant transport infrastructure providers. In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thales provides maintenance services to the Al Mashaer Al Mugaddassah Makkah Metro (MMMP, the metro of the holy sites in Makkah) and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
“We are glad to partner with Thales who extends its contributions to the overall success of NSR project. It comes along with KSA strategic vision 2030 to transfer the knowledge for the maintenance activities to be carried out by Saudi professionals. The contract secures the needed support to Saudi Railway polytechnic that qualifies Saudi young professionals for the future of railways in KSA.” Abdullah Al Yousef, Signalling and telecommunication maintenance manager, Saudi Arabia Railway (SAR).
Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace, Transport, Defense and Security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, Thales reported sales of $15.5 billion in 2015. With over 22,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Thales’ unique international footprint allows it to work closely with customers all over the world