The new Mombasa-Nairobi Railway went into operations on May 31, 2017. It is the first railway line constructed in Kenya since its independence over a century ago. The rail line runs through Kenya’s wildlife nature reserves, connects families and cities, and shares hope by boosting regional economic growth and social development. This line plays a vital role in bringing Kenya even closer to the rest of the world and creates an economic artery for integrating all East African countries. Huawei’s Digital Railway Solution enables multiple communications tasks, including mission-critical train dispatch, emergency communications, section maintenance communications, secure transmission, and ensures a stable power supply along the entire line. The solution meets customer requirements for safe, stable, and efficient railway operations and simultaneously ensures highly reliable communications for the railway.
A Century of Endeavors Embark on a New Journey for Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.
Kenya is regarded as the paradise for wildlife in East Africa. Just a few years ago, local residents and even tourists coming from afar could only travel there by dilapidated meter-gauge railway or crowded roadways.
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya with a population of over two million, and also where the United Nations Office has its headquarters in Africa.
Mombasa is the country’s second largest city, after the capital of Nairobi, with a population of about 0.5 million. As a regional economic hub, Mombasa has an extra-large port for international trading, and is an important regional tourism center that attracts tourists from all over the world.
A meter-gauge railway line (referring to narrow-gauge railways with track gauge of 1,000 millimeters) connecting the two cities was constructed in the colonial era and no more lines were built in Kenya in the century that followed. After operating for more than a hundred years, the aging line became difficult to operate on a large transport capacity with its current average speed of 30 km/h and annual freight volume of 1.5 million tons. Consequently, a new and faster railway line with higher transport capacity was urgently needed to extend Kenya’s economic boom for business and tourism, and easily allow people to travel between cities, to share their hopes and dreams as they make frequent visits with their families.
Now, looking around, a modern railway station stands in the Mombasa suburb with beautiful scenery. Looking down from above, a long and winding railway line stretches from the Port of Mombasa into the vast African inland. This line, which draws worldwide attention and carries the hopes of the Kenyan people, is the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.
The 471-kilometer ‘line of the century’, with a designed train speed of 120 km/h and a transport capacity of 25 million tons, was constructed under China’s Level-I Railway Standard. The line plays a pivotal role in East Africa’s railway network and has paved the way for standard-gauge rail links in this area. This line is part of a long-term plan to connect a vast network of railways, further joining Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan. This rail network also makes invaluable contributions to local economic growth. The line helps create over 30,000 jobs for local residents and cultivate a number of experts in railway engineering and operations management. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway project and its infrastructure construction has brought Kenya’s GDP growth rate up to 2 percent. This new line in Kenya carries the Kenyan people’s centennial dream of being committed to national prosperity. “The China-funded project also demonstrates China’s firm determination and support for Kenya’s independent sustainable development,” said Zhang Ming, China’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, a mixture of Chinese and African DNAs, is supported by Huawei’s industry-leading highly-reliable digital railway operational communications system.
Huawei’s Highly-reliable Communications Network Serves as a Powerful Catalyst for Train Operations.
The opening of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway brings new vitality to Kenya’s railway system. The line is an international Standard-Gauge Railway (SGR) that adopts China’s railway standards, representing a great leap forward with its higher speeds and shorter departure intervals. This modern railway, because of its advances, also requires more secure, stable, and reliable train operations. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure reliable and efficient operations of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway.
Fully understanding this, Huawei’s Digital Railway Solution provides the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway with a full suite of core systems such as a highly-reliable, industry-leading GSM-R system; a large-bandwidth unified transmission system which adopts soft and hard pipes to protect train control and other mission-critical services; a modular and highly efficient power supply system; and an environment monitoring system which enables great scalability and intelligent management. This customized solution also enables multiple tasks along the entire line, including train dispatch, emergency communications, section maintenance communications, secure transmission, and ensures stable power supply. All of these systems collectively contribute to safe train operations.
Behind the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway line is the powerful support of Huawei’s highly reliable and powerful communications network, which makes this long line a genuine national ‘spine’ for East Africa.
Huawei’s next-generation GSM-R Solution has been deployed to build the train-to-ground communications network, providing the most comprehensive redundancy design in the industry for Network Elements (NEs), coupled with multiple Huawei proprietary technologies and protection mechanisms. With 99.999% high reliability through optimized system fault detection and isolation measures, the network guarantees stable transmission of train control signals. Based on mature hardware platforms, Huawei’s next-generation BTS3900 GSM-R base stations support smooth migration to LTE-R, maximizing investors’ Return On Investment (ROI).
The transmission network uses Huawei’s next-generation Hybrid MSTP transmission devices which support SDH/IP dual planes to carry not only pure TDM services, but also integrated IP data services, enabling efficient transmission of large quantities of data services and smooth all-IP evolution.
In addition, Huawei’s premium communication power supply and Uninterruptible Power System (UPS) products are installed to meet diversified requirements for the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway on backup power, ensuring high-quality power supplies for communications systems, data centers, security systems, and other critical loads.
Huawei Wins Global Customers with World-leading Railway Operational Communications Systems.
Given the railway evolution over the past century, the Kenyan people eventually have fulfilled their centennial dream thanks to the long-expected Mombasa-Nairobi Railway line. It is the first modern railway line built in Kenya and will be an economic corridor with huge potential. More tourists from across the globe will also travel along this new line. The Mombasa-Nairobi Railway plays an indispensable and pivotal role in bringing the East African countries closer to the rest of the world.
Huawei’s Railway Operational Communications System serves as an effective tool that ensures safe, stable, and reliable train operations, providing significant support for Kenya’s passenger and freight transportation, and thus economic growth. At the same time, the railway will facilitate regional collaboration and integration to propel Kenya into a flourishing country.
Huawei’s Digital Railway Solution, to date, has been deployed to serve more than 100,000 kilometers of railway worldwide, including multiple rail projects in Africa such as: the Addis Ababa Light Rail in Ethiopia, the Chingola-Livingstone Railway in Zambia, and the railway project for Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). Other major digital railway projects include those in Germany and South Africa, as well as high-speed rail lines in China and Spain. With innovative solutions and global delivery capabilities, Huawei has always been committed to building a better connected railway along with partners and customers in the transportation sector across the globe.