Kapsch CarrierCom has won a project to ensure safe train operations on the 450 km high-speed line between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
In a statement on Wednesday, the company’s global recognition as a GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway) specialist paved the way for obtaining the project.
Kapsch’s newest technology based on ERMTS level 2 will be used on the route. Kapsch was selected by Indra and Saudi Railways Organization primarily thanks to its experience in safe system architectures and its reference projects with similarly high requirements.
Construction has been under way on this railway line already since 2009. For Kapsch the project begins in 2013. In a first phase, the entire GSM-R infrastructure will be installed and tested. Then Kapsch will support Indra and the Prime Contractor Consortium for the operation and maintenance phase. The term for the operation contract is 12 years.
The new high-speed rail line from Makkah through Jeddah to Madinah will connect multiple urban regions as well as the King Abdul Aziz International Airport. The route features expansive stretches of desert with difficult climatic conditions and high temperature fluctuations. Pilgrims from all over the world will in future travel to the holy sites at speeds of up to 320 km/h. Railway communication based on GSM-R technology is an important prerequisite for safe and smooth operation of this railway line.
In order to ensure this, a fail-safe architecture was designed with built-in redundancy. The network coverage along the railway line is fourfold, which means that if three base stations in a region fail, a fourth can still serve the entire area.
The core based on the newest R4 technology provides full redundancy and will be operated at two different locations.
“We were able to win this project in particular because security, safety and expertise were key criteria, we acquired experience with similar environmental conditions in a project in Algeria and we have already equipped multiple railway stretches with similarly advanced solutions supporting ERTMS Level 2 in high speed environment. We are particularly pleased that Kapsch can contribute to passenger security and comfort on the world’s most important pilgrimage route,” said Michel Clement, Vice-President Railways of Kapsch CarrierCom.