Wabtec Corp. has been awarded a US$69.63 million (€60 million) contract to supply platform gates for the Marseille metro automation project in France. In addition, Siemens Mobility and BAI Communications (BAI) have finalized their acquisitions of Sqills, a Netherlands-based passenger rail software provider, and Mobilitie, a U.S. telecommunications infrastructure company, respectively.
Wabtec’s Faiveley Transport, along with Eiffage Genie Civil Méditerranée and Eiffage Energie Systems Mediterranee, will supply Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis with all the platform gates for Marseille NEOMMA’s lines 1 and 2, which are being automated. This includes 29 stations and 62 platforms, each of which will be equipped with 12 sets of 5.6-foot (1.7 meter)-high platform gates, emergency egress doors and fixed screens. The contract covers design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of the platform gates, plus platform-edge reinforcement.
“The gates are designed to integrate the latest cybersecurity standards and customized to meet the architect’s brief on volume, shape and materials,” Wabtec reported. “In total, they will feature more than 200 digital information displays to provide a seamless passenger experience.” The gates also include an adjustable ramp system for accessibility. Additionally, they are said to reduce energy consumption while in standby mode—using seven times less energy than in active mode—and up to 97% of their façade materials are recyclable.
“Wabtec’s unique approach to installing the platform gates was a key advantage in securing the order,” the manufacturer said, noting that its “experience in retrofitting the gates during the night will enable metro to remain open throughout the project.”
On-site work is slated to begin in 2023, with the project wrapping up by the end of 2026.
“Marseille NEOMMA is a good example of our ability to offer integrated, end-to-end solutions to our customers,” Wabtec Transit President Lilian Leroux said. “The platform gates form part of a complete passenger transfer system, which we also are supplying Alstom with the onboard doors for new metro cars.”
In November 2019, Alstom was awarded a contract for the renewal and automation of Marseille metro, according to a report from Railway Age sister publication International Railway Journal. As part of the contract, Alstom is developing, supplying and installing the operating system and equipment to allow automatic operation of the network’s two lines. The company will also commission 38 new four-car rubber-tired metro trains, which are scheduled to enter service in early 2024, and modernize all the audio-visual passenger information systems inside the stations.
Sqills is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens Mobility, which announced the acquisition in August. A Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, Sqills offers cloud-based inventory management, reservation and ticketing software to public transport operators worldwide. SNCF, Irish Rail, Rail Delivery Group, SJ, Via Rail and Eurostar are among its clients.
Together with Hacon, eos.uptrade, Bytemark and Padam Mobility, Sqills is part of Siemens Mobility’s software portfolio, in which “a wide variety of services for public transport are brought together, so passengers can easily identify and directly book the trip option that best meets their needs,” Siemens reported.
“We are delighted to have finalized this acquisition and I am happy to officially welcome Sqills to the Siemens family,” Siemens Mobility Managing Director and CFO Karl Blaim said. “With Sqills, we can provide operators with a comprehensive SaaS offering that optimizes their key travel processes, including trip searching, inventory, reservation and ticketing management. The SaaS solution helps to increase capacity utilization of trains through clever pricing [and] achieve greater utilization transparency for planning capacities, and the use of a configurable cloud-based solution significantly reduces costs.”
“Sqills is excited to explore new ways within the Siemens family to accelerate our go to market into Asia and the Americas, while continue to expand our customer base in Europe,” Sqills Managing director and CEO Bart van Munster said.
BAI on June 28 announced its acquisition of Mobilitie, which will expand BAI’s operations in North America, where its majority owned business Transit Wireless provides cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity across New York City Transit’s subway system.
Mobilitie has agreements to provide wireless communications to public transit systems in Seattle, Wash., and the San Francisco Bay Area. The acquisition also adds Mobilitie’s broader portfolio of 220 venues across 39 states, 10,000 small cells across 45 states, and 300 tower sites across 14 states to BAI’s operations.
“The acquisition enables BAI to strengthen and expand its current services, as it couples Mobilitie’s expertise in above-ground connected venue infrastructure solutions with BAI’s ability to deliver 5G communications infrastructure in complex transit environments,” BAI reported.
Mobilitie will continue to operate as a separate entity within BAI, and its existing operations and customer partnerships are unaffected.
“The expertise and current partnerships that Mobilitie holds are incredibly valuable,” BAI Group CEO Igor Leprince said. “Bringing Mobilitie into the wider BAI Communications group solidifies us as a leading connected infrastructure provider in North America. The natural fit between Mobilitie’s expertise and that of BAI enables us to extend the services we offer clients across both entities. This will be increasingly beneficial as we see the prioritization of connected infrastructure continue to gather momentum in the US and around the world.”
“Closing this acquisition is an exciting development for Mobilitie, our customers and telco partners as it will expand and accelerate our deployment of wireless infrastructure solutions in the marketplace and position us to better support our customers globally,” Mobilitie President Christos Karmis said.