AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Single rail control system after ARTC-Telstra deal

<p>A deal signed between the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Telstra will see nine separate communications systems across Australia’s rail system, from Brisbane to Perth, replaced by the Next G network, the companies said today (Tuesday, April 3).</p> <p>Seventy-seven new Next G regional base stations will be built over 10,000 km of track under the $85m deal.</p> <p>Replacing a series of old technologies, such as two-way radios and CDMA devices, the new network will provide telecommunications coverage for the interstate network &#8211 from Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne and Broken Hill, and in the Hunter Valley.</p> <p>The agreement improves coverage in tunnels and across the Nullabour Plain, introduces new communications equipment for more than 700 locomotives, and is backed up by satellite if necessary.</p> <p>ARTC chief executive David Marchant said the single national communication system would greatly improve operational efficiency and reduce the cost of managing multiple communications platforms.</p> <p>&#8220This national rail network communications backbone will be the envy of the North American and European rail networks,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>&#8220ARTC’s approach is to contract our communications delivery, which in itself is a major shift for the rail industry.</p> <p>&#8220ARTC has chosen Telstra because its Next G network provides depth and breadth of high speed coverage coupled with reliable performance &#8211 a framework for continuous updating and improvement,&#8221 Mr Marchant said.</p> <p>The Next G network reaches 98.8% of the Australian population, according to Telstra. </p> <p>ARTC expects the system to be fully operational by June 2009.</p> <p>Funding has been made available under the AusLink national transport plan.</p> <p>Federal transport minister Mark Vaile said yesterday the Government would commit a total of $69.6m to the project.</p> <p>"This will allow us to provide a modern train communications system that will significantly enhance rail freight efficiency to reduce the future burden on our roads," Mr Vaile said.</p> <p>The new automated remote train control and signalling project is aimed at updating 19 th-century manual systems.</p> <p>"For example, new train control systems will enable all signalling and train control for the interstate rail network from Campbelltown to Melbourne to be centralised at Junee, maximising efficiency and providing for improved safety for the rail network,&#8221 Mr Vaile said.</p> <br />