The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has signed ten-year contract with Telstra to manage security of supply, maintenance and enhancement to its National Train Communications System (NTCS).
The NTCS supports the ARTC’s 8500km national rail freight network, which includes more than 70 base stations, providing routine and emergency communications across ARTC and non-ARTC train control territories.
The mobile and cloud-based solution – using Telstra NextG – will provide a single communications network between train control, trains, trackside workers and wayside equipment, making it easier for train operators to do business across the country, ARTC said.
The company’s communications infrastructure will be supplemented by a Telstra satellite solution, delivered by Iridium.
The government-funded NTCS has replaced many disparate and old communications systems, of which ARTC was previously required to maintain and support for train control operations.
The deal follows ARTC officially ‘switching off’ its previous analogue telecommunications network in December 2014 to operate the single nationwide platform.
The ARTC hopes this next ten years will see the company meet its evolving data intensive communication needs while providing a platform for future rail technology innovation.
The shift represents the first time a rail access provider has moved from a private to a public telecommunications network for its operations in Australia.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton said the NTCS was essential to ensuring future rail freight success, with a solid digital platform in place to exploit for safety, efficiency and capacity benefits.
“The Telstra-based NTCS will provide a platform for many of the new and exciting innovations being developed by ARTC.
“Using the Telstra NextG network, applications such as safe travelling distance technology (proximity alerting), real-time locomotive tracking, sophisticated track and wayside monitoring technology, situational awareness systems and the next generation of train management – the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) – all become possible,” Fullerton said.