Siemens Constructing Driverless Subway System in Riyadh


Siemens is supplying a complete turnkey system for two driverless subway lines in the Saudi-Arabian capital Riyadh. With a population of five million, the fast growing city, which previously relied primarily on diesel buses for its urban transit needs, intends the investment as a step towards modernisation of the traffic infrastructure. The order for Siemens covers subway rolling stock, as well as electrification systems and signalling technology for driverless operation. Siemens is also responsible for system integration across the 63 kilometres making up the lines. Siemens was awarded the order by the High Commission for Urban Development (ArRiyadh Development Authority), with its share worth a total of some 1.5 billion euros (2.1 billion US-dollars), as part of a consortium with the US company Bechtel and the local construction outfits Almabani and Consolidated Contractors Company. The total order value for the consortium is approximately 7.5 billion euros (10 billion US-dollars).

Image Courtesy of Siemens
Image Courtesy of Siemens

For a total of 1.5 billion euros, Siemens is to supply a turnkey rail system for two driverless metro lines in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. With six lines and a length of 175 kilometres is an ultramodern metro system with six lines and a length of 175 kilometres to be built. Siemens equips Lines 1 and 2 of the six lines with Inspiro metro trains, the electrification and the signalling and communication systems for driverless operation.

Siemens is equipping Lines 1 and 2 of the six-line system. “We are proud that our leading technology is to be used in one of the largest metro projects in the world,” said Sami Atiya, CEO of the Siemens Mobility and Logistics Division. “The integrated supply of rolling stock, signalling and electrification gives our customers definite advantages.” Siemens will deliver a total of 74 Inspiro-type metro vehicles, The aluminum-bodied trains are designed to run on standard-gauge track at a top speed of 90 km/h. The 2 and 4-car trains have been designed with the region’s particular climate in mind. One such feature is a higher capacity air conditioning system, capable of delivering sufficient cooling power to ensure the wellbeing of passengers even in extreme heat. In addition, the bogies, traction drive, brakes and doors have been fitted with special seals and filters in order to reduce the ingress of sand.

The signalling and train control technology ensures that especially during rush-hour periods trains can operate at 90-second intervals, an operating frequency that enables the system to handle 21,000 passengers per hour. The two lines will be equipped with a Siemens-supplied, WLAN-based control system for driverless and conductorless train operation. Automatic train control, radio transmission and 31 electronic interlockings are also being installed. Siemens is also fitting out the operations control centre for both lines, from where the routes will be directed and monitored. The contract also covers training in the use of the new technology.

Siemens is also responsible for the lines’ power supply systems. The electrical energy generated by the trains when the brakes are applied will be fed back into the metro system’s power supply and thus made available for all other electrical loads. The electrical equipment will also include emergency power facilities with diesel generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).

Siemens is a leading supplier of turnkey systems complete with rolling stock, signalling technology and electrification. For example, Siemens is currently installing metro lines in Rennes (France) and in Delhi (India), as well as a tram system in Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Fully automatic driverless lines are already in operation in Algiers (Algeria), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and Rennes.

With its sustainable technologies, Siemens’ Infrastructure & Cities Sector contributes to the long-term improvement of the quality of life of people in urban centres of population. This is exemplified by the turnkey subway lines in Riyadh, for which various units are pooling their expertise, in order to optimise mobility for the city’s inhabitants, make more efficient use of energy and cut CO2 emissions.

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