Knorr-Bremse is to supply braking systems for the trains and platform screen doors for the stations on the new metro in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Worth almost €40 million, the contract includes the biggest ever single order for platform screen doors in the history of Knorr-Bremse’s subsidiary Westinghouse Platform Screen Doors. The decision to build the metro was made in February when the Chinese President, Hu JinTao, visited Saudi Arabia. Knorr-Bremse is to supply complete braking systems for 17 12-car trains and doors for nine stations.

The new metro will link the cities of Mecca, Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah and should help them to cope with the traffic during the festival of Hajj – the pilgrimage that brings three million Muslims to Mecca every year. Such large volumes of people make huge demands in terms of the reliability of the platform door systems. Moreover, the braking systems have to cope with the extreme climatic conditions on the Arabian Peninsula, including high temperatures and wind-born sand. That is why Knorr-Bremse products were the first choice for the new metro system. The first of a total of five new metro lines is scheduled to go into operation next year in time for the Hajj in November 2010. It will reach its full capacity by 2011, by which time it will be capable of transporting at least half a million pilgrims per day.

The metro in Mecca is being constructed by the China Rail Construction Company, with the trains supplied by Chinese rolling stock manufacturer CNR Changchun Railway Vehicle Company. Knorr-Bremse is extremely well positioned in the Chinese market and in 2008 received orders worth a total of €360 million from the local and mainline segments. The company’s strong local presence, with six production sites and development and project management structures, enables it to meet Chinese localisation requirements, giving it the status of a Chinese manufacturer and enabling it to supply export projects together with Chinese vehicle builders.