Thales has been recruited by Egypt and Hong Kong to improve its rail networks, awarding the company deals that that will lead to a doubling of capacity on Cairo’s busiest line and also provide upgrades to connections between the Chinese territory’s main airport and ferry terminal.
Egypt National Railways has brought Thales on board to improve traffic safety and security on the Cairo to Banha section of line, allowing the trains running on it to increase their speed by 25mph (40kmh) to around 100mph (160kmh) that will enable double the number of passenger and freight rail traffic. While at Hong Kong International airport, Thales will be responsible for modifying the Automated People Mover (APM) system that transports passengers between the airport and Hong Kong’s SkyPier ferry terminal, equipping it with an on-board signalling system.
The work in Egypt will be taking place on the nine-station section of track that forms part of the Cairo-Alexandria line and will include the supply of signalling systems for interlocking devices and level crossing infrastructure. As a result of Thales’ work, Egypt National Railways will be able to manage the whole of the line from one traffic control centre. Not the country’s only attempt to improve safety on its network, the Egyptian government announced last week that it would focus on accident prevention measures to reduce the reported 1,000 annual accidents that take place in the African country. Planned for introduction next year, the updated system will include a series of drug and psychological tests on rail staff to ensure they are able to undertake work safely.
Offering more details on its work in Hong Kong, Thales said it was brought on board to upgrade the rail-ferry terminal link ahead of the third runway to boost capacity at Hong Kong International airport. The first of Thales’ two contracts for the Hong Kong deal, the company will resignal the existing APM and also equip the new trains with Thales’ SelTrac Communications Based Train Control system – what the company calls “the central nervous system”.
Meanwhile in Australia, one of Thales’ main competitors, Bombardier, has signed a contract with Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) to maintain the city’s signalling system for the next 10 years. Valued at around £33m ($60m AUS), and including an option for five additional years of maintenance, the deal will see Bombardier work on the Australian state of Victoria’s largest-ever public transport programme, the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project.
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