Passenger Rail, Signalling & Communications, Technology and IT

Perth radio overhaul shortlist named

Perth B-series train. Credit: Creative Commons / DBZ2313

The five shortlisted parties for the $120 million contract to upgrade radio communications on Perth’s urban rail network have been named by WA’s Public Transport Authority (PTA).

State transport minister Rita Saffioti announced the results of an EOI stage for the tender on May 1.

PTA initially told Rail Express the shortlisted parties would not be named publicly. But the authority released the list on May 4.

The five parties in the running are as follows:

  • Ericsson Australia Pty Ltd
  • Huawei Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • Optus Administration Pty Ltd
  • ZTE (Australia) Pty Ltd
  • Ansaldo STS Pty Ltd

The winning bidder will be tasked with upgrading the existing analogue radio communications system on the Perth network, with a modern digital system.

Saffioti said the project would create a more efficient rail network, and support future expansions.

The work will involve installing new towers and poles with digital-friendly infrastructure, and the replacement of radio devices in trains and security vehicles, as well as handheld radios for mobile staff.

The contract will be awarded early next year, and the government wants the new system in place by late 2020, before the existing analogue system is switched off to comply with changed licensing and spectrum allocation requirements of the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“The shift from analogue to digital has a number of benefits including improved transmission security as well as more flexibility to transmit not just audio but data as well,” Saffioti said.

“Radio systems are critical to train operations – they are used by operational staff carrying out tasks of almost every type, from customer service staff, to train drivers, train controllers, security and maintenance staff.

“It will also provide a platform for a future improved train control system.”

Saffioti encouraged the public to understand that while this $120 million in spending might not have the most visible results, it would result in a significant public transport improvement.

“An upgrade like this is highly technical and isn’t always visible to the public,” she explained.

“However, it is critical in ensuring the Transperth rail network is ready for future expansions – including METRONET.

“This project will help facilitate automatic train control in the future, in line with METRONET objectives.”


Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated PTA would not release the names of shortlisted parties. The PTA has since released the shortlist.