The new Dubai Metro Red Line officially opened to passenger service in the United Arab Emirates on 9 September 2009, with the country’s vice-president, minister and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, boarding the first train to leave the Mall of the Emirates station. Over 100 VIPs joined the Sheikh on the inaugural ride on the 52km line which runs from Rashidiya to Jebel Ali.

The Dubai Rail Link (DURL) consortium is responsible for this design-and-build contract, which will ultimately deliver the world’s longest fully-automated, driverless metro system. Following a three year construction programme, the Red Line is now entering revenue service – with the 22.5km Green Line, which runs from Jadaf to Al Quasais, scheduled to follow in March 2010.

The automation of the whole Dubai Metro network is achieved through Thales Rail Signalling Solutions’ systems, managed from the operations control centre (OCC) at Rashidiya. Having successfully supplied products into London Underground projects, and with Dubai Metro having 13km of underground track and stations, Mainframe Communications was appointed by Thales in 2007 to supply similar equipment – providing the fibre-optic connection along both the Red and Green Line routes.

The scope of Mainframe’s contract included the supply of fibre optic interface equipment – including 19 splice enclosures to join trackside cables and eight distribution frames to connect train and station control equipment, along with associated accessories including cables, patch cords and optical splitters.

In addition, four fibre-optic distribution racks (19in floor-mounted cubicles built by Mainframe) have been installed – two at the OCC and two at the back-up OCC at Jebel Ali – to interface the Thales SELTRAC system with trackside equipment along both the Green and Red routes. The distribution rack design incorporates Mainframe’s proprietary pivot optical presentation tray assemblies, which enable efficient splicing, patching and management of up to 384 fibres.

Mainframe’s wall-mounted distribution frames include equipment that is critical to the operation of the train and station management control systems – including the Thales SELTRAC vehicle control centres (VCCs) for both the Red and Green Lines. The VCCs constantly evaluate the status of the railway and vehicle positions by interfacing the on-board train controllers with trackside equipment; they then derive and transmit movement authorities to the trains within their control area.

Commenting on the project, Mainframe’s business development manager, Paul DuGuay, said: “This is a tremendously prestigious project and one we’re delighted to have been so closely involved in. Throughout the project we have worked closely with Thales’ engineering teams in Canada and Dubai to provide solutions to the various challenges they were facing.

This project is yet another example of Mainframe’s capability, and a further demonstration of our ability to serve the rail industry, no matter where in the world our customer or their project is located.

With the Red Line operational and the Green Line due to follow soon, we are hopeful that the proposed Blue and Purple Lines will also come to fruition and provide opportunities to further build on our growing worldwide reputation.”