SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Railways Organization has awarded QinetiQ subsidiary OptaSense and its local partner Abdulla Fouad Holding Co a US$12m five-year contract to install and maintain a 1 000 km optic fibre intrusion detection system on its Riyadh – Dammam routes, in what the national railway says is the first project of its kind in the Middle East.

Digital acoustic sensing is intended to help SRO combat trespass and vandalism and to identify potentially disruptive works such as excavation works near the railway boundary. DAS uses laser and sonar technology to sense vibrations, which are compared with a database to identify whether they are caused by normal rail operations or by human or animal intruders, vehicles or excavation works.

DAS will provide real-time and multiple event detection with accurate location data, and will also be able to monitor train speeds and direction of travel, and alert the operator to wheel flats.

Planned future developments include integration with SRO’s CCTV systems.