Riyadh Metro: Line 1 tunnels completed
15 November 2016

Riyadh Metro: Line 1 tunnels completed

SYSTRA is on the verge of completing an automated metro network in the capital of Saudi Arabia. The 6.5 million people of Riyadh will be able to use the line before 2020, and the project is progressing well: tunnel boring machines have now completed the excavation of the future route of Line 1. Since 2013, the group has been working on the first three lines of the metro system.

About 20km of tunnel has been bored on Lines 1, 2 and 3

Along a total length of 104km, Lines 1, 2 and 3 of the Riyadh metro serve the city centre, through some 25km of underground tunnels. Five tunnel-boring machines (TBM) drilled these sections, allowing simultaneous underground excavation and installation of the various segments that form the lining of the tunnel. The last of the four tunnel-boring machines working on Line 1 completed its work on 24 October 2016. The underground sections of Line 2 are being built using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM). The TBM working on Line 3 should complete its work in early 2017.

A metro network managed and supervised by SYSTRA

The group and its partners are responsible for reviewing the final design of the project, ensuring its compliance, and supervising the construction works. To ensure optimum responsiveness, a special engineering team was created to review the design and coordinate the work during construction. SYSTRA has recruited 250 men and women of 20 different nationalities, including 50 Saudi nationals, to work on this project.

Integral automatic train operating system

The first three metro lines will serve 62 of the 85 stations that will form the entire network. The architectural design for three of these stations has been awarded to renowned international consultancies. The Riyadh metro will comprise six lines in total, all of which are currently under construction, forming a full network of 176km. A driverless, integral automatic train operation system was selected for the operation of the network, ensuring maximum safety and providing high capacity. The minimum time gap between two trains is 90 seconds and the top speed is 80km/h.

New public transport by 2020

So far, the preferred mode of transport for the 6.5 million people living in the Saudi capital is that of private cars. It was in order to reduce traffic congestion, and its associated pollution, that ADA launched a vast programme of transport links, including the metro system, as well as putting a bus network in place all around it. All these new modes of transport will be operational before 2020.

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