Australian Rail Track Corp. (ARTC), the government-owned operator of Australia’s freight rail network, has begun replacing its older communications systems used on 704 privately owned trains in hopes to remove a hinderance to interstate shipping.
The new system, based on Telstra’s Next G network, will unify the six UHF and VHF radios that were previously used by trains to communicate with control centers in each state. The unified radios will meet all the different technology standards and systems in place in these states.
The communications revamp comes at the end of a 12-year project by ARTC, which also involved moving away from satellite and legacy technologies in favor of new mobile communications in partnership with Telstra. ARTC said the goal is to eventually standardize all the processes for physical rail in the states.
The company has already begun retrofitting 200 trains with new communications systems that will also include GPS functions to provide a variety of tracking and location services down the line. The remaining 500 trains will receive the equipment upgrade later this year.
The Advanced Train Management System, designed with Lockheed Martin, is expected to increase train schedules, efficiency, and safety.
When implemented it will allow 15 trains, each 1.8 kilometers long, to pass any given point on the track within an hour block, while travelling at speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour.