OptaSense, a QinetiQ company has been awarded a five year USD 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.