UK-based Atkins has appointed Abdeljabbar ben Salem as head of rail systems in the Middle East.

Abdeljabbar, who has a PhD in robotics and automation from Nancy University in France and an MBA from Manchester Business School in the UK, has joined Atkins after eight years with Bombardier, for whom he worked in France, the UK and Dubai.

The company also said it plans to create a rail system centre of excellence in the region. Atkins is among the leading rail sector consultancies in the Middle East after first developing its team to provide full multidisciplinary design and management of the civil works on Dubai Metro, the first phase of which was completed in September 2009. The company is currently working on major rail and metro projects in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“Rail systems skills are deeply technical and much sought after in the marketplace – not just in this region but across the world,” said Julian Hill, managing director for the Middle East rail sector for Atkins. “By investing strongly in our rail systems team we’re ensuring that we’re in the best possible position to meet future demand as the region’s major rail projects and programmes gain momentum.”

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