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Thales inks new maintenance contract with Saudi Railway Company

by James Morgan on Oct 3, 2017

Thales has signed a two-year maintenance contract with SAR for the kingdoms NSR project.
Thales has signed a two-year maintenance contract with SAR for the kingdoms NSR project.

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Thales has inked a new two-year maintenance contract with Saudi Railway Company (SAR).

Under the terms of the deal, which represents an extension to a one-year agreement signed in 2016, Thales will maintain the signalling, telecommunications, and electromechanical systems of Saudi Arabia’s North-South Railways (NSR) project.

The firm will also transfer knowledge to SAR’s local teams in compliance with Saudi Vision 2030.

With approximately 2,400km of track, sidings, yards, depots, stations, and administrative facilities for two lines, the kingdom’s NSR project is the longest railway in the world.

READ: Saudi Railways creates $97bn plan to cover kingdom

The network was constructed to transport passengers from the capital city of Riyadh to Al Haditha, and freight from the Wa’ad Al Shamal phosphate mine to Ras Al Khair.

Jean-Yves Tolot, country director for Thales in Saudi Arabia, said: “Throughout its historic presence in the kingdom, [our] group has developed very strong cooperation with local industries and universities to speed up the transfer of knowledge, know-how, and capabilities.

“In line with [Saudi Vision 2030] and [the National Transformation Program,] this project further illustrates Thales’ commitment to ensure the SAR maintenance [personnel] are able to continue in their efforts long after our contract expires, and contribute towards the kingdom’s success.”

In partnership with SAR and The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), Thales also plans to work with Buraydah’s Saudi Railway Polytechnic to train 1,500 students, aged 18 to 21, over the course of five years. If ratified by SAR, this scheme would see trainees obtain vocational qualifications in the fields of health and safety, mechanical, electrical, civil engineering, signalling, telecommunications, rolling stock maintenance, and train driving.

Abdullah Al Yousef, signalling and telecommunications maintenance manager at SAR, commented: “We are glad to partner with Thales, [which] extends its contributions to the overall success of [the] NSR project.

“It comes along with [Saudi Vision 2030] to transfer the knowledge for the maintenance activities to be carried out by Saudi professionals. The contract secures the needed support to Saudi Railway Polytechnic [to qualify young Saudi professionals] for the future of railways in KSA,” he added.

Thales will establish eight maintenance bases along the 2,400km as part of the agreement.