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30 January 2007

Underneath the Desert at 110 Miles per Hour

Dubai has just started with the construction work for a new metro system that is to lead right across the desert. The new Dubai Metro will be able to move 355 million passengers. As early as 2009 – this is the plan – the first trains of a total of three lines are to be rolled out. All of the vehicles are fitted with Scharfenberg® couplers and shock-absorbing elements from Voith Turbo Scharfenberg. Completion of the entire network is scheduled for 2012; until then, 87 vehicles must be installed with Voith Turbo coupler technology.

Voith Turbo Scharfenberg received the order for the Scharfenberg couplers from the Japanese vehicle manufacturer Kinki Sharyo. The extraordinary climatic conditions in the Dubai desert require special consideration: extreme heat, sand storms and a high salt content in the air – challenges that also affect the coupler system. The coupler system includes shock-absorbing elements to protect the trains against damage from low-speed collisions.

But it was not only the coupler technology that convinced the customer; the on-site competence of Voith Turbo Scharfenberg was an important argument too. After all, Voith Turbo is represented in Dubai through Sarja and has a number of subsidiaries in Japan, and is thus able to offer direct support and service.

The new metro system will not only provide an underground network for the city centre, but will also cover important suburban lines, for example from the airport to the Gulf Coast, and then continue overground along the coast in an easterly direction. This will help to reduce the traffic on Dubai’s congested roads. Similar to the metro lines in Paris and Copenhagen, the vehicles of Dubai Metro will be driverless. During the rush hour, each of the 75m long trains can move approximately 600 passengers at extremely short intervals, when trains will run every 90 seconds.

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