This blog is by Wolfgang Nagel from the Nokia Siemens Networks Railway Solutions team.
Unpredictable fuel prices, continuing economic uncertainties and global environmental concerns are renewing interest in railways. Governments and travelers around the world increasingly see railways as a primary mode of national and regional transport.
The European Union, for example, would like all inter-city journeys of 1000 km or less to be made by train within the next ten years. Their stated goal over the same period is for railways to account for 30% of total EU passenger travel, up from around 10% today.
Achieving these objectives will require massive investment in infrastructure and rolling stock over many years to add capacity and enable higher speeds and greater safety. At the same time, the railways need to attract new customers by offering an onboard travel experience equal or superior to that offered by alternative carriers like airlines, for example, by providing broadband Internet access.
Innovative and ultra-reliable telecommunications will be the key to achieving the full potential of today’s market opportunities and government recommendations. To make the most of telecommunications and meet the following business challenges, the railways will also need to manage the transformation from circuit-switched to all-IP packet and mobile broadband environment:
– Communication between drivers and controllers, especially for cross-border services, has historically required multiple analog radio systems that reduce operational efficiency and add unnecessary cost.
– The safety demands of high-speed train travel require accurate, real-time positioning information and faster, more reliable and better integrated communications with on-board systems and personnel.
– Repair and maintenance operations can be optimized when inspections and other monitoring activities can be carried out when the train is in service – not only at dedicated locations when the train is stationary.
– Long distance travelers expect news, entertainment and communication facilities equal or superior to those available on the road or in the air.
– Travelers increasingly require real-time information on delays or changes in schedules, and the ability to amend their travel plans accordingly.
The Nokia Siemens Networks track record in GSM-R projects is unrivalled, well ahead of other vendors. With 29 landmark commercial projects covering tens of thousands of kilometers of track, hundreds of tunnels and thousands of trains, Nokia Siemens Networks GSM-R networks serve railways in Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Libya, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and Turkey.
Nokia Siemens Networks will be showcasing its railway solutions at this year’s InnoTrans event on September 18-21 in Berlin. Our theme is ‘Railways Solutions from the market leader’, and we will be highlighting the market launch of the FlexiEdge Radio Base station as part of our innovative Flexi base station product family, which supports a smooth migration to LTE for the railway market. We will also introduce our best-in-class Geo-Redundancy solution, which enables our customers to enhance passenger safety by transmitting mission critical information in real time. Visitors to our booth will see innovative live demonstrations of Nokia Siemens Networks Broadband applications such as seamless Internet access and CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) for rail passengers and personnel.
Visit us at hall 6.1, stand 123 at InnoTrans, and share your thoughts on the role of communications in improving rail travel.