Saudi Arabia – new railways to cost $45 billion

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Saudi Arabia is expected to invest USD 45 billion to build new railway networks and upgrade existing railways throughout the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia - new railways to cost $45 billion
Saudi Arabia – new and upgraded railways to cost $45 billion and will include upgrades to ‘on-train’ LTE networks and other communications networks. (photo used for illustrative purposes only)

Efforts are being undertaken to expand Saudi Arabia’s existing rail networks to meet the rising numbers of railway passengers — expected to reach 3.37 million by 2014, on the existing railway system, the North-South line, and the Haramain high speed rail. The total length of these railway projects is expected to be 7000 kms, establishing a comprehensive rail network for commuters in Saudi Arabia.

The projects will include the interests of the Saudi Landbridge, the North-South Railway Line, the Haramain High Speed Rail, the GCC Rail, the Riyadh Light Railway and Makkah Metro.

Rabii Ouadi; “Within the next 10-years transportation infrastructure in the Middle East and especially Saudi Arabia, will dramatically change. According to market studies it is estimated that the worth of the projects railway telecoms systems will reach several hundred million dollars.” — Rabii Ouadi, Head of Business Development, Transportation Solutions at Huawei Enterprise, Middle East and North Africa

The role of 4G technology in contributing to an enhanced passenger experience has also been noted, in addition to ICT solutions for metro and urban rail, and Intelligent Video Surveillance solutions, all of which are critical to the construction and operation of modern railway infrastructure.

Rabii Ouadi; “The future of railway networks in the region will rely heavily on the capability of its 4G technology, as it forms the backbone of all rail communication systems.”

A communication infrastructure, including train-to-ground wireless network, will be developed on board a train based on LTE technology. This will allow on-board broadband internet and mobile coverage, enabling passengers to video-call home and connect to the office over WiFi or cellular networks. Passengers can also keep track of their travel itinerary through integrated scheduling and ticketing systems: all accessible by downloading an application on their smart phones.

The implementation of such a technology will also allow railway operators to have the ability to share information on journey updates, passenger and train status, as well as the ability to address security issues by using the latest CCTV monitoring equipment.

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