Saudi Arabian Railways has equipped a 449km line between Dammam and Riyadh with a fully automated European Train Control System by Siemens, the first time such a technology has been used in the region.

The €91m contract for the work was given to a consortium led by German company Siemens in December 2005.

The automated system features Siemens’ Trainguard 100 which acts as the Automatic Train Protection system and a Driver Machine Interface to give the driver continuous information on the permissible speed as well as the status of signals on the line ahead.

The train system also has a microcomputer system, Ten Simis, to ensure failsafe railway operations and a GSM railway network to help rail personnel communicate.

The new system was specifically designed to cater for the country’s extreme temperature conditions.