FAST Consortium announces Riyadh Metro milestone

‘San’ah’ tunnel boring machine (TBM) has arrived at Salah Al-Din Station, marking the completion of 1.2km of its Riyadh Metro Line 5 contract

The above image captures the exact moment when ‘San’ah’ TBM broke through at Riyadh Metro’s Salah Al-Din Station.
The above image captures the exact moment when ‘San’ah’ TBM broke through at Riyadh Metro’s Salah Al-Din Station.

FAST Consortium has announced that the ‘San’ah’ tunnel boring machine (TBM) has arrived at Riyadh Metro’s Salah Al-Din Station.

The news marks the completion of 1.2km of the TBM’s designated 5km on Riyad Metro’s Line 5, also known as ‘Green Line’. The route drilled so far stretches from the Ministry of Education to Salah Al-Din Station, which is located between Orouba Road and King Abdullah Road.

The ‘San’ah’ unit, which began drilling on 30 June, 2015, will continue to work on the northern section of Line 5 until it reaches Riyadh Airbase Roundabout. At this point, it will meet FAST Consortium’s second TBM, ‘Dhafrah’.

Commenting on the process, Ian Redmayne, Atkins project director for the FAST Consortium, said: “We are committed to meeting our deadlines and we are proud that both our metro TBMs have been the first in their achievements – ‘Dhafrah’ being the first to be launched and ‘San’ah’ the first to break through in the Riyadh Metro Project.”

Jaime Freyre, FAST Consortium’s project director, added: “I congratulate my colleagues in FAST, our engineers, and our partners from ADA and RAMPED on this achievement.”

‘San’ah’ TBM is a 100m-long machine and weighs in the region of 2,000 tonnes. It is operated by approximately 100 people and drills around 20m per day. The TBM is specifically designed to deal with local soil specifications in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The unit installs the lining of the tunnel as it drills, meaning that only the tracks and driverless-train systems have to be installed once boring is complete.

FAST Consortium and Arriyadh Development Authority employees were joined by the residents of Salah Al-Din for the arrival of ‘San’ah’. Citizens of the district witnessed the machine’s cutter head break through the walls of the station, which sits 25m below the ground.

‘Dhafrah’ was the first TBM to begin drilling for the Riyadh Metro Project. So far, the unit has completed 12.9km of Line 5.

FAST Consortium is building three of the six lines of the Riyadh Metro network, which in combination, will span a distance of 72.5km. The routes, which include Line 4 (Yellow Line), Line 5 (Green Line) abnd Line 6 (Purple Line), will necessitate the construction of underground, ground-level, and elevated stations, and will operate 69 driverless trains at speeds of up to 80km/h.

FAST is one of three consortia commissioned by Arriyadh Development Authority to build Riyad Metro, the world’s largest public transport project. The consortium’s partners are FCC, Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Alstrom, Atkins, Samsung C&T, Setec, Strukton, and Typsa.

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