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Riyadh Metro

Underground for the Princess Noura University for Women


To inform users of the current time and the time of arrival and departure of trains, to have a universally consistent time for managing train movements, with the complete synchronization of all 14 stations


This system required the use of a Master Clock “server”, a GPS antenna, a secondary level Master Clock, Analog clocks as well as Digital clocks, all supported by the NTP protocol.

  • Precise time synchronization
  • Implementation simplicity and speed
  • Reduction of costs
  • Remote maintenance
  • Greater integration within the time information system
  • Network redundancy
Case Study Riyadh Metro

The city of Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) is home to the largest university campus for women in the Arab world. It is the Princess Noura University for Women: located near the King Khalid International Airport, it covers an area of 8 million m² and houses over 15 departments where several thousands of female students study. This campus is served by a light driverless underground the covers a total of 11.5 km, mostly below ground, with 14 stations for reaching the various areas of the campus.


For this environment, Solari di Udine has created a complete system for broadcasting information. Besides the classic LED panels and 40 inch TFT displays with information regarding trains arrivals and departures, the system is also composed of a centralized and technologically advanced clock system that manages information for all stations.


Thanks to the NTP protocol, used for synchronizing the clocks, and to Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology integrated in the recent devices, it has been possible to achieve considerable advantages during implementation: advantages have included a reduction of costs in building the entire system, as well as simplicity and speed in deployment.


The system is made up of a Control Center that manages the 14 stations across the campus as well as the train warehouse; here, a Master Clock (MCK 2290/NTP RACK) is installed and functions as a Master Clock “server” that synchronizes 14 Master Clock “slaves”, each of the same type and installed in the various stations, by Ethernet and NTP protocol.


The main Master Clock is connected to a GPS antenna for synchronizing time. This guarantees an extremely high level of precision.

Besides the various Master Clock slaves, several Domino clocks and a Quasar Meteo clock are connected to the Master Clock of the Control Center, each with its specific purpose.


In the Control Center, a control room has been set up using a synoptic diagram provided by the customer, with which the situation is monitored; for this purpose, several operators in the room, each with a specific task, verify the correct and continued functioning of the entire transportation system throughout the line, and for this end the time is obviously a vital factor. There monitoring duties are therefore supported by the presence of 4 Domino NTPs that display the date and time and are distributed along the length of the synoptic diagram itself, and are synchronized by means of the local MCK.


The train warehouse, not too far from the Control Center (about 300 m), is equipped with a Quasar NTP for outdoors that displays the time in hours, minutes and seconds, as well as weather information. This clock, which is synchronized thanks to the MCK in the Control Center, is used during the departure phase of the trains in the warehouse: the operator checks the time on the Quasar and deploys the train so that it leaves exactly at the established time of departure.


At the train stations, several two-sided OLC 1050 clocks can be found. Their synchronization is handled by the local Master Clocks.


The OLC clock, a traditional pulse clock, has been redesigned by Solari di Udine a for this specific purpose, based on the requirements of the customer, so that the NTP protocol and ethernet interface could be used for a greater integration within the time information system.


Another important aspect in the adopted solution is that the system architecture offers a network redundancy, in that it guarantees that should the connection with the Control Center be lost, the clocks at the various stations will remain perfectly synchronized, therefore ensuring continuity of service in all circumstances: this is possible thanks to the Master Clocks installed locally for the purpose of handling the devices at each station.


In this case, Solari di Udine’s experience in creating complex systems as well as its flexibility in customizing its solutions, have made it possible to completely meet the customer’s requirements.


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Clocks used