Belgium’s urban public transport operator STIB has selected Alcatel-Lucent to install a new fibre-optic communication network for automated rail services in Brussels, as part of the Pulsar project.

The Pulsar project aims to implement a fully automated driverless metro rail network in Brussels to increase train frequency from 24 trains an hour to 40, in order to deal with growing passenger traffic.

In the last 10 years, the Brussels public transport system has seen a 70% rise in the passenger numbers. STIB expects to handle 415 million passengers a year by 2017.

"Existing communication networks are put under tremendous pressure."

Alcatel-Lucent Strategic Industries president Pascal Homsy said: "Railway operations are becoming increasingly automated and integrated, and the existing communication networks are put under tremendous pressure because of advanced signalling, asset management and improved video security."

Under the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will install a Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) network to interconnect 70 metro stations and video surveillance with thousands of cameras and image sharing.

Based on its 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS), the fully-redundant WDM network consists of two parallel loops and has more than 140 Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer (ROADM) nodes.

The seamless and secure broadband communication network will deliver the required capacity to run services such as railway signalling using communication-based train control (CBTC), on-board communication with Passenger Information System (PIS).

Additional services to be operated over the optical communications network include real-time LAN connecting all vending machines and ticket offices, STIB offices communications and datacentre interconnect.

As part of the contract, Alcatel-Lucent will also provide STIB with its 5620 Service Aware Manager for integrated network and services management, maintenance for five years, network design, delivery and deployment, full integration, field maintenance, remote assistance and 24/7 helpdesk and network monitoring.