Chinese networking vendor Huawei today announced it would be working for UGL Limited to provide the technology and equipment necessary for RailCorp's radio communications upgrades to CityRail lines.
UGL won the $225 million contract on 21 December 2009 and has been charged with providing a digital train radio system (DTRS) on RailCorp's electrified rail network. Design and installation will take two and a half years, with UGL to provide five years' ongoing support and maintenance following implementation.
Today, a RailCorp spokesperson stated: "The fixed component of the digital train radio network will be installed over the coming two and a half years", with the project starting on Monday.
The DTRS will cover 1455km of track and 70km of rail tunnels across the Sydney metro network, with 675 train carriages slated to be fitted with on-board radios and interface equipment. The system will address recommendations from the Glenbrook and Waterfall incident reports.
The NSW Government started planning a $170 million digital train radio system upgrade in October 2008, with the RailCorp tender being opened on 29 December 2008. NSW Minister for Transport David Campbell asserted the benefits of a new system, stating: "The current radio system allows RailCorp train crew operating on any track to communicate with network control in case of an emergency. But this new digital system will have additional features, meaning integrated communications for all staff, including track workers and transit officers as well as train crew." The tender closed 25 February 2009.
Within the tender, RailCorp called for the inclusion of GSM-R technology, of which Huawei is one of only three providers in the Australian market.
Huawei's technologies have previously been used by other rail networks, including the Shijiazhuang-Taiyuan passenger transport railway, which implemented a GSM-R communication system in April 2009.
Peter Rossi, CTO of Huawei Australia, believed the same solutions will apply to RailCorp's new system. "The challenges we came up against in China can be applied to the Australian environment. Long tunnels, vast distances and high traffic areas — all of these problems were overcome using Huawei's innovative GSM-R solutions," Rossi said.