Saudi-qualified staff at the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) have taken over signaling and telecommunication maintenance for the entire railway network.
Maintenance was handled previously by Thales, the French multinational specializing in aerospace, defense and transport design.
Abdullah Al-Yousef, signaling and telecommunication manager at SAR, said the transfer of roles was part of a strategic plan to localize signaling and telecommunication maintenance by June 2019.
Saudi employees at the signaling and telecommunication department now made up 95 percent of staff, he said.
Al-Yousef said that SAR had implemented the European advanced signaling and telecommunication system ETCS L2 following the launch of the North train project.
At 2,750 kilometers in length, the North railway network is the longest integrated line using the advanced European system.
Saudi youth had played a “major role” in the maintenance of the system, Al-Yousef said.
Qualified local individuals at SAR will supervise signaling and telecommunication maintenance for the entire passenger line, including Riyadh and Hail. SAR will also take over maintenance at Al-Jouf station by September and all L2 signaling by June next year.
SAR plans to enhance its in-house signaling and telecommunication maintenance.
Last year SAR and Thales signed a two-year maintenance contract to provide maintenance to the signaling, telecommunication and electromechanical systems for the North railway project. The contract includes the transfer of knowledge and vocational qualifications for local staff.
Saudis were preparing to take over the maintenance activities to meet the demands of Saudi Vision 2030.
SAR is applying state-of-the-art global standards of performance, entertainment, safety and high-tech implementation.
The company also wants to achieve the principle of sustainability for the future of this sector at large.