The Saudi Railway Company wanted to upgrade its train borne radio system on the Makkah Metro, which was heavily used by millions of pilgrims during the Hajj season. Hytera overcame the challenges of retrofitting the new TETRA system into the existing train spaces and customized equipment to meet the customer’s requirements.
Saudi Railway Company
August 2021 to July 2022
TETRA Base Stations
TETRA Onboard Mobile Radios
The Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro line was opened in November 2010 to ease the traffic congestion caused by the thousands of buses and cars used during the Hajj. The all-elevated 18.1km-long line has nine stations and connects the holy sites at Mecca, Mount Arafat, Muzdalifa, and Mina. It is only open to the public for seven days a year during the annual Hajj and it is one of the busiest metro routes in the world during this period.
Retrofitting and customizing a new TETRA radio system for the existing metro train fleet
The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) manages the Mecca Metro. The original metro train communication system had been running for almost 10 years and had become difficult and costly to maintain. SAR decided to replace the system urgently.
The main challenges in designing and installing the new radio system centered around the fact that it had to be retrofitted into the existing train carriages. For example, the locations for the onboard radios and microphones were fixed, so the new equipment had to be installed in those spaces.
Another challenge was that the electrical design of the onboard radios had to be customized, as the power supply system of the trains cannot be altered.
Finally, the project had a short delivery time and had to comply with the stringent regulations of the railway authority.
The TETRA technology was chosen as the new communications solution. Drawing on its extensive experience in the railway industry, Hytera proposed to SAR a one-stop TETRA solution, including customization and installation of the system.
The sizes of the onboard radios and microphones were carefully designed in order to fit into the spaces left by the legacy radio equipment. The electrical design of the onboard radios was customized to meet the existing train specifications with the input voltage changed to 110V.
The layout of the buttons on the microphone was designed to be identical to the legacy microphones, so that users can operate the new radio system with zero learning curve. The combining system and antenna system were also customized to ensure the optimal performance of the overall system.
Hytera supplied five TETRA base stations to cover the 18.1km line and installed 34 TETRA onboard radios into the metro train fleet.
Hytera was able to adapt its radio equipment to meet the particular size, power supply mode, electrical interface mode and interface definition required by Saudi Railway Company. The train radio platform is customized to provide ordinary calls, emergency calls, and broadcast calls between the dispatching platform and the train platform.
TETRA Radios Connected to PA System
The radios located at the train stations are connected to the metro's existing public address systems, so they can broadcast calls not only to the drivers, but also to all the passengers.
Customized Hand Microphones
The hand microphones cables are customized to meet the requirement of more than 3 meters between the hand microphone and the radio. The layout design of the hand microphone was customized to replicate the layout of the legacy microphones, so users could continue to operate them in the way they were used to.
Bespoke Outdoor Antenna Feeder System
The antenna feeder system is specifically tailored to achieve full coverage along the complete train track and to ensure that the signal strength along the line is above -85 dBm.
Fast Migration from Legacy to New Radio Network
The solution was designed to enable good compatibility between the new and legacy radio systems. All radio terminals on the existing network were registered at one go after the new system was powered up. The transition from the legacy system to the new system only took three days.
Hytera Engineering Guarantee
The Hytera technical team offered on-site service two weeks before and for two weeks during the Hajj.