ABB traction transformers to power high-speed rail line in Saudi Arabia

ABB is to supply 72 traction transformer sets to power trains on a new desert railway between Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia’s 450-kilometre Haramain high-speed railway will create a much-needed link for pilgrims travelling between the two holy cities.

ABB will manufacture 72 traction transformer sets, plus two spare sets, and 72 battery charges to train builder Talgo which is supplying 35 new 300 km/h high-speed trains for the line.

In 2011, the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) placed a €6.7 billion order for a fleet of new Talgo 350 trainsets. The agreement included an option for 20 more of the vehicles, which feature a duck-bill-shaped nose.

The trains, which are used extensively across Spain’s high-speed rail network, will be equipped with Bombardier Flexx Power 350 high-speed bogies and a Bombardier Mitrac 3000 propulsion and control package.

Talgo said in September 2013 that it hoped to deliver the first train for testing by the end of 2014.

ABB has said its traction transformers have been designed to cope with the challenging desert temperatures, which can range from -20 degrees celsius to more than 55 degrees.

Markus Heimbach, head of ABB’s Transformers business, said: “We are proud to be able to provide our advanced and proven technology to this prestigious rail project.”

Around three million passengers are expected to use the line every year.