The trains can travel at 300 km per hour, the fastest in the Middle East, and can transport 9,000 passengers per hour between five stations: Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport (KAIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and Madinah. One of the most important links between Jeddah, a major city near the airport, and Makkah, a distance of 66 km, now only takes 21 minutes. Transportation is a central pillar of the national economy, and this project is a key element within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan for economic development as the number of visitors is projected to grow.
ABB has supplied key equipment like gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), static var compensators (SVCs), low-voltage equipment and battery storage solutions to ensure steady supply of reliable power to the trains. ABB has also provided critical onboard equipment such as traction transformers and protection systems as well as ABB Ability-based, mission-critical communication networks.
“ABB is pleased to be part of this pioneering and prestigious project that will benefit millions of local commuters and pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia,” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids division. “ABB’s innovative solutions for the rail sector meet the most demanding requirements, ensuring reliable performance and efficient operations, supporting our commitment to sustainable mobility.”
Meeting extreme desert climate requirements was one of the key considerations for the project. More than 100 bays of compact and robust GIS supplied by ABB across six substations are designed to endure harsh terrain and climate conditions and the traction transformers are capable of withstanding high temperatures and burning sands. The SVCs help balance asymmetrical loads and address voltage dips during operation in hot climates, ensuring quality of power supply. — SG