UK-based train operator South West Trains (SWT), in partnership with Network Rail and Siemens, has started a £3.2m project to install Wi-Fi technology on its train fleet.
The 45 Class 444 Desiro trains in SWT’s fleet will be equipped with Wi-Fi technology, which will enable passengers to access the internet and e-mails as they travel.
Installation of the Wi-Fi systems on the operator’s network is expected to be completed over the next 12 months.
SWT operates trains on the mainline service from London Waterloo via Basingstoke, Southampton and Bournemouth to Weymouth, which are used by 15 million passengers each year.
External cameras are also being planned for these trains, which will use Wi-Fi to track rail equipment for timely maintenance to help improve punctuality.
The technology will allow real-time monitoring of on-train equipment, while forward-facing cameras mounted in the cab will help in-track monitoring.
Over the last two years, SWT has invested £15m to develop the performance and reliability of its Desiro fleets, supplied and maintained by Siemens.
The trains have been equipped with hydraulic bushes that reduce track damage and cut infrastructure maintenance costs.
The fleet has also been enhanced with RailBAM, an acoustic monitoring system that uses sensitive microphones on trackside to listen to every individual axle bearing on each train as it passes.
The system can detect axle defects or deterioration, allowing the rail operator to address them quickly.
Earlier this year, SWT completed a £2.2m investment programme to fit regenerative braking technology to more than 200 electric trains.
Image: Wi-fi technology will be installed on 45 Class 444 Desiro trains in SWT’s fleet. Photo: courtesy of Our Phellap.