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ABB won US$85mn Saudi rail order to supply GIS


ABB won an order worth US$85mn from AlFanar Construction Co. to supply 380 kV indoor gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) that are a key component of new substations that will power the 444km long high-speed Haramain rail line currently under construction in Saudi Arabia.

ABB will design, supply, install and commission the GIS by the middle of 2013, to meet a challenging project schedule. The GIS solution offers high reliability, ease of operation, low maintenance costs and environmental benefits.

Owned and operated by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the country's national power utility, the substations are needed to supply electricity to high-speed (360 kph) electric trains that are expected to help transport about three million passengers annually.

The railway will link the pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina via the King Abdullah Economic City, Rabigh, Jeddah and King Abdulaziz International Airport. The new rail line is expected to reduce traffic congestion on the roads, and will cut travel time between Medina and Mecca from six hours to two.

"Our GIS is extremely robust and designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. It also has a significantly smaller footprint - a distinct advantage for indoor and urban installations such as these," said Bernhard Jucker, head of ABB's Power Products division.

"The equipment will facilitate the reliable and efficient supply of electricity to power the new rail network."

Increasing concern for the environment, rapid urbanisation and the need to move more people and freight faster, make rail a key infrastructure sector.