Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University has granted a $82.29m (€72.5m) contract to Hitachi Rail to run and maintain the autonomous metro system in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The contract will be valid for the next three years.

Being the largest women university globally, Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University can accommodate 60,000 students that can move with the autonomous train within the campus area.

The rail system includes four elevated lines that stretch for 11.5km and pass through 14 stations.

With a capacity of 110 commuters, the 22 two-carriage automated metro trains have the ability to run at a top speed of 60km/h.

As agreed, Hitachi Rail will run the entire autonomous metro system, upkeep trains and infrastructure, covering stations, mechanical and electrical solutions, the depot and viaduct.

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In May 2011, Hitachi Rail finished the construction of this autonomous rail network.

Hitachi launched its first autonomous metro in Copenhagen in 2002.

Later, it introduced Line 5 in Milan, Bres­cia, Line C in Rome and rail system in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Taipei, Taiwan.

It is currently involved in projects that are taking place in Australia, Hawaii, and Greece.

Hitachi Rail operation service and maintenance division executive officer Edoardo La Ficara said: “We are proud to be confirmed as operator and maintainer of the Princess Noura University automated metro. This award is an important further milestone that consolidates our presence in the Middle East, one of the Operation, Service and Maintenance Division target markets.

“We’re happy to be able to contribute with our customers to the development of mobility in the countries in which we operate, in terms of growth and sustainable systems.”

Recently, Hitachi Rail signed a long-term partnership with the Netherlands’ Intermodal Telematics (IMT) to improve its rail freight offerings.