Telecommunications and media firm Telstra has secured a ten-year contract from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to provide ongoing telecommunications for its 8,500km national rail freight network.
The deal allows the national freight network to meet its evolving data-intensive communications’ needs and offers a platform for future rail technology innovation.
It also covers the security of supply, maintenance and enhancement to ARTC’s national train communications system (NTCS), which is a single government-funded network for communications between train control, trains, trackside workers and wayside equipment.
According to ARTC, 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.
ARTC CEO John Fullerton said: "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."
Last December, ARTC switched off its analogue telecommunications network to operate a single nationwide platform with NTCS replacing disparate and old communication systems.
The ARTC’s move to Telstra NextG is the first time a rail access provider has moved from a private to a public telecommunications network for railway operations in Australia.
NTCS uses Telstra NextG coverage along its routes which includes more than 70 base stations built specifically for ARTC, supplemented by an Iridium-powered satellite solution to provide redundancy in black spots along the rail corridor.