OptaSense Selected to Secure Vital Railway Lines in Saudi Arabia

November 20th, 2014

Saudi Railway Organisation Award $12m Security Contract to Monitor 1,000km Railway Lines

Farnborough, UK – 20 November 2014 – OptaSense, a QinetiQ company has been awarded a five year $12million contract, split evenly with its partner TAQQAT Global Co. – Abdulla Fouad Group., to provide security monitoring for two rail lines from Dammam to Riyadh. The Contract, for the 1000km rail line, is the first phase in securing the entire rail infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

The contract, which is being primed by TAQQAT Global Co. – Abdulla Fouad Group, will see the installation of a dedicated fibre monitoring network which will incorporate OptaSense’s Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) system.

The DAS technology will allow the Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) to monitor encroachments and unauthorized movements on both sides of the railway lines, by sensing vibrations on the fibre-optic network. Using laser and sonar technology developed by QinetiQ, the disturbances will be transmitted to processing units to compare the type of vibrations and determine via a database whether it is a vehicle, excavation, a person or an animal on the line, as well as ignoring the ordinary vibrations generated by the trains. The technology can also identify the site of any disturbance helping reduce the response times for maintenance and security teams.

The system will allow operators to also monitor trains on the line, with capability to record speeds and direction. In addition, it can be used to monitor the condition of the train and tracks, such as identifying flat wheels. The two railway lines which run between Ar-Riyadh and Ad-Dammam will see the DAS technology integrated into SRO’s main operations centres.

The contract marks a further success in the Middle East for OptaSense, with the DAS system already being used on many oil & gas pipelines and facilities in the region.  This contract follows other successful rail projects in Germany, Austria, UK and the USA.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, said  “We are committed to enabling our customers achieve the maximum availability of their assets to protect their revenues and reduce operational costs. Our DAS solution will enable SRO to monitor every metre of their rail line in real time and take appropriate action to reduce the impact of adverse events to ensure the highest level of security.”

Mr. Othman Al Othman, CEO of TAQQAT Global Co., one of Abdulla Fouad Group subsidiary installing the fibre cables commented, “We are very pleased that after a long but successful tender process, OptaSense’s DAS technology will come to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to enhance the safety and security of our railway lines. TAQQAT Global Co. – Abdulla Fouad Group is looking forward to a successful project implementation jointly with OptaSense.”

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