This blog is by Wolfgang Nagel from NSN.
Without any doubt, railways are one of the greenest ways to travel, especially compared to cars and planes. To increase passenger numbers and improve the travel experience, railway operators in Europe and around the globe are investing heavily in high-speed rail. As trains become faster and more comfortable than ever, they are providing a true alternative to air travel.
In a trend affecting both modes of transport, the job description of train conductors and pilots is changing as automated controls become the norm. Instead of ‘driving’ the trains or planes, their job is to monitor the automated safety systems that prevent human error and increase passenger safety. The crucial communications link between these systems and regulatory control centers is GSM-R, the international wireless communications standard for railway communication and applications. Available for non-commercial operational purposes only, it was developed specifically for railways.
These automated safety and communication systems are already up and running in many countries around the globe. One example, the European Train Control System (ETCS) is mandatory for all EU-funded projects on defined ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) routes. This signaling, control and train protection system is designed to replace the many incompatible safety systems currently used by European railways, especially on high-speed lines.
NSN provides the communications infrastructure for the ETCS and is pleased to be contributing to rail safety in Europe with our GSM-R networks. Measured in both the number of commercial networks and length of GSM-R lines, we are the market leader in railway communications solutions, and have, to date, delivered 29 GSM-R networks in 21 countries serving more than 50,000 km of railways. Our GSM-R networks serve railways in Australia, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Libya, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia and Turkey.
For train travelers in all these countries, the result is a green travel option that is safe, fast, reliable and comfortable.