Gulf Importers

Honeywell set to help rail schemes

The Dubai Metro where Honeywell’s technology came into play

With states in the GCC region having plans to invest a total of $100 billion in railway projects, Honeywell is keen to support them with the full breadth of its technology offering.

Honeywell successfully contributed its technology to the Dubai Metro and stands ready to participate in other Gulf railway schemes. The US firm has provided solutions to rail projects in several parts of the world including Athens, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Delhi.

The $100 billion GCC investment will cover a combined distance of approximately 2,177 km. Building such an infrastructure is no small feat, and as such the Gulf States will be in charge of their separate geographical segments, including Kuwait (145 km), Saudi Arabia (695 km), Bahrain (64 km), Qatar (283 km), UAE (684 km) and Oman (306 km).

“In terms of specific solutions for the Gulf railways projects, we are keen to leverage our integrated products to connect critical systems that can protect each station individually as well as the whole network in its entirety,” said Mark Fenton, business leader, Honeywell fire safety, high-growth regions. “Using our solutions – trains, control rooms, platforms, connected retail, office and storage space, electrical switch rooms and railway yards can all be connected and integrated onto the Honeywell network,” said Fenton. 

“While the rail boom presents many opportunities, it also raises challenges, particularly around supply chain and skilled engineering resource bottlenecks. With that in mind, Honeywell supports each local market through a select group of well-trained and highly-regarded partners who in partnership with Honeywell will do their utmost to ensure that GCC governments benefit from our experience in developing highly complex rail projects around the world.

“For example, for the Dubai Metro, we have deployed systems which are linked by Modbus/TCP/IP allowing communication between the many different devices and systems that are connected to the same network. This network allows every action in a station to be detected at the Operational Control Centre for which the RTA has placed a separate monitoring team.”

Honeywell was successful in implementing Gent by Honeywell, the UK’s leading fire detection and alarm system, on the entire Dubai Metro network.

Honeywell’s global headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey (US)

Honeywell’s global headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey (US)

“The brand value of Honeywell, as a manufacturer known for the effectiveness of its product portfolio and the high quality service level provided by our local partner, played a key role in us winning this contract and we are hopeful that this premier system will be in demand regionally since it has been now been tried and tested here in the Gulf with great success,” Fenton recalled.

“Honeywell can provide extensive detection and evacuation solutions for all types of rail networks with room to optimise the systems operation characteristics according to the rail operators’ requirements.

Whatever the size or complexity of the network and stations Honeywell’s voice alarm systems can also provide clear evacuation information in a controlled manner to the general public so as to minimise panic. As a result, the Dubai Metro fire system can be relied on to save lives by avoiding panic in the event of an emergency by guiding commuters to an exit through an arranged evacuation system.”



Within the rail sphere, Honeywell is seeing a lot of interest in its public address and voice alarm systems, which are essential for platform broadcasting and train schedule announcements at stations along a railway network.

Fire detection and alarm systems and railway operating systems are also critical components of any rail network, which need to be integrated with broadcast and scheduling systems to ensure accurate and timely information coverage.

“One of our most in-demand solutions for such large-scale environments is Honeywell’s Variodyn D1 public address and voice alarm system. The system adopts a fully distributed structure along with a graphical user interface that provides single or multiple points of control across the network. This allows for an extremely simple operating interface for train management systems, passenger announcements and alarm management,” said Fenton.

This solution has been implemented in many rail projects across the world, including the Metro in Athens – Greece, the Bangkok Airport Rail Link – Thailand, the Shanghai Transrapid – China, the Metro and Light Train systems in Hong Kong and the Metro in Delhi, India.

From a fire detection point of view, Honeywell has completed numerous projects around the world. One of its products’ key features is to integrate with standalone systems, controlled either by a station manager or run in isolation. These systems can be connected together on a network linked to a master control room from where everything can be managed so that potential fire situations are quickly averted. Honeywell provides similar solutions for public address systems as well where stations may already have an independent system that is programmed and controlled locally but is now required to be managed centrally. It is also pre-programmable through a master control room connected to a network including pre-recorded announcements for trains.

Honeywell’s Station Management and Access Control Systems are cited as another example of excellent technology. The systems were introduced at the Delhi Airport Metro Express Link, a 23 km metro line that consists of a total of six stations of which five stations are underground and one is elevated. The project has very successfully offered smoother operation and enhancement of passenger safety, security and comfort by centralising the monitoring and control system deployed at the site. It has also reduced operational costs by allowing monitoring of all services from a single location. Reporting and analysis has been achieved through interfacing the client’s SAP with the OCC system, which also serves as an employee attendance tracking system. Improved workflow and resource scheduling were enabled through the CMMS which produces a pre-maintenance and shutdown schedule.