Thales has signed a contract worth €340m with the Saudi BinLadin Group (SBG), to implement train control systems on the main line of the North-South railway project.

The North-South Railway project, managed by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR), represents a major infrastructure project in Saudi Arabia and in connecting the capital Riyadh, with the North of the country. The new railway track will stretch from the capital to the Jordanian border and from Al Jalamid to the Arabian Gulf, and will include seven passenger and freight stations as well as 41 sidings and junctions.

Thales executive vice president Olivier Houssin said that the contract confirms Etcs as a global technology and places Thales in pole position in the region.

“This project demonstrates our ability to pioneer state-of-the-art technology in new markets and represents the first commercial application of an ETCS level 2 system into the Middle Eastern market,” said Houssin.

Thales European Train Control System (ETCS) level 2 system will be implemented by the Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund (PIF) across 2,400km of the new rail project.

The contract represents the first implementation of the ETCS level 2 in the Middle East and at the same time, the longest implementation of the ETCS standard in the world.

The new line is expected to be fully operational by 2013. As part of the project, Thales will be supplying turnkey main-line signalling, telecommunication, supervision, security and fare collection systems. SBG will be responsible for the completion of the overall construction works and supporting services.

By Daniel Garrun.