Thales to maintain 2,400km railway line in Saudi Arabia


Thales has secured a contract to maintain the signalling, telecommunication and electromechanical systems of the Northern Train project in Saudi Arabia.

The two-year contract was awarded by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) and also includes the transfer of knowledge to the SAR's local team.

The Northern Train development is currently in operation and involved the construction of 2,400km of track along with sidings, yards, depots, stations and administrative facilities for the two lines. 

It is also equipped with the latest signalling technology and European Train Control System Level 2.

SAR primarily transports passengers from the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh to Qurrayat. It also supports freight movement of raw phosphates and bauxite from the mines in the Northern and central regions to the processing and export sites located on the Arabian Gulf.

Thales is expected to deploy specialised engineers and technicians across eight bases to maintain the railway line.

"The contract secures the needed support to Saudi Railway polytechnic that qualifies Saudi young professionals for the future of railways in KSA."

The company will also gradually transfer knowledge and technology to the SAR maintenance teams to facilitate the network's continued maintenance.

In addition, Thales will support the development of Saudi Railway Polytechnic, which has been established in Buraydah, Qassim Province.

The institute will train 1,500 students over the course of five years in various fields relating to railway development, including safety, mechanical, electrical and civil engineering, signalling and telecommunications, rolling stock maintenance and train driving.

SAR Signalling and telecommunication maintenance manager Abdullah Al Yousef said: “We are glad to partner with Thales, who extends its contributions to the overall success of NSR project.

“It comes along with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's (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.”