Andrea Parker, Network Rail Consulting - UK Rail Telecommunications Developments


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Andrea Parker, Head of Signalling & Control Systems, Network Rail Consulting delivered the presentation at ARA’s Telecommunications & Train Control Conference 2014.

The ARA’s Telecommunications & Train Control Conference 2014 brought together passenger and freight rail operators, transport agencies, track owners, regulators and technology suppliers to assess telecommunications solutions and explored the capabilities of a shared future.

For more information about the event, please visit:

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Andrea Parker, Network Rail Consulting - UK Rail Telecommunications Developments

  1. 1. UK Rail Telecommunications Developments Andrea Parker BEng MBA CEng FIET FIRSE Head of Signalling and Control Systems (Australasia) , Network Rail Consulting Pty Ltd Harvinder Bhatia BEng MBA CEng MIET MIRSE Principal Engineer [Communications], Network Rail, UK
  2. 2. © Network Rail Consulting Contents Fixed Telecoms Network 3 Radio Communications 10 Current Developments 19 © Network Rail Consulting The contents of this presentation remains the intellectual property of Network Rail Consulting and may be used only in connection with the brief for which it was submitted. It is specifically forbidden to communicate the contents to any third party without prior permission in writing from Network Rail Consulting, and all reasonable precautions must be taken to avoid this occurring. 2
  3. 3. Fixed Telecoms Network
  4. 4. © Network Rail Consulting Fixed Telecoms Network (FTN) What does it carry? GSM-R Signalling bearer circuits Electrification controls Operational and business telephones Legacy radio systems IT wide area network 4
  5. 5. © Network Rail Consulting Fixed Telecoms Network SDH transmission node Cabinet for copper cross-connection or HDSL equipment Fibre cable Multipair copper cable Signal post telephone Lineside signalling equipment Copper tail cable GSM-RBase Station Key NTP NTP NTP NTP NTP Network terminating point Signaller's Telephone LDT Signalling Interlocking GSM-RBase Station NTP GSM-RBase Station NTP GSM-R Base Station LDT Signalling long distance terminal RTISWide Area Network Office Telephones NTP NTP Telecoms EngineeringControl NTP NTP NTP Core Network NTPNTP NTP GSM-R Mobile SwitchingCentre (MSC) Telephone Concentrator NTP NTP NTP LDT LDT NTP 5
  6. 6. © Network Rail Consulting Telecoms Engineering Control 6
  7. 7. © Network Rail Consulting FTN Equipment REB and tower Main Distribution Frame Inside REB (battery rack) Inside FTN Core Node 7
  8. 8. © Network Rail Consulting FTNx Core Solution Overview 8
  9. 9. © Network Rail Consulting FTNx Core network resilience to link failures EdinburghGlasgow Birmingham Bristol Manchester Doncaster Kings Cross Victoria 9
  10. 10. Radio Communications
  11. 11. © Network Rail Consulting Radio Communication Safety Purpose Advise signaller of dangerous conditions Warn driver of emergency situation Emergency connection to ECR Safety Requirements Secure communications Emergency over-ride of lower priority calls Emergency broadcast when required Technical Solutions (past and present) NRN* (National Radio Network) CSR* (Cab Secure Radio) RETB* (Radio Electronic Token Block) GSM-R (GSM for Railways) *Legacy radio systems being phased out 11
  12. 12. © Network Rail Consulting Why renew radio systems, and why GSM-R? Safety recommendations – direct signaller to driver communications Obsolescence and condition of analogue radio systems – NRN 30 years old, CSR at least 20 Interference (especially digital TV) to NRN/RETB Why GSM-R? European interoperability legislation mandating GSM-R on TEN-T routes made it a legal requirement 12
  13. 13. © Network Rail Consulting What is GSM-R? • Based on Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) 900 MHz standard • Addition of special facilities required for railway operations • Interoperable across European railways • Provides secure communication between driver & signaller 13
  14. 14. © Network Rail Consulting What is GSM-R? GSM-R Rail Specific Features Railway emergency calls: fast set-up time Functional addressing (call without knowing number) Location dependent addressing (connected to appropriate location) Group and broadcast calls Priority and pre-emption 14
  15. 15. © Network Rail Consulting Network Rail’s GSM-R Network What is involved… 2 Switching centres 2,500 trackside base stations 500 standalone transmission access nodes New train radio in 9,000 driving cabs New radio terminal for every signaller’s position New operating rules £1Bn+ investment in infrastructure (incl. FTN) Scheduled completion 2014 Network Coverage Complete coverage of the rail network including tunnels and depots For high speed (TEN-T) routes, GSM-R signal strength suitable to support ETCS Level 2 working -83 dBm (Voice) -80 dBm -77 dBm (ETCS L2) 15
  16. 16. © Network Rail Consulting Train Radio HMI and Signaller Terminal 16
  17. 17. © Network Rail Consulting GSM-R Network 17
  18. 18. © Network Rail Consulting Typical GSM-R Radio Site 18
  19. 19. Current Developments
  20. 20. © Network Rail Consulting GSM-R development EU member states have invested heavily in GSM-R networks to support voice and ETCS but GSM-R has a finite capacity due to limited spectrum Implementation of ETCS increases data demand on GSM-R Use of existing circuit switching for ETCS data is very inefficient The solution: GPRS is a packet switching bearer that overlays on GSM-R which allows multiple users to share a timeslot GPRS is not new but ETCS over GPRS is 20
  21. 21. © Network Rail Consulting ETCS National Integration Facility (before) Stapleford Broadwater Operational GSM-R BTS REB Operational GSM-R BTS REB FTN Stapleford Operational GSM-R Cell (voice) Broadwater Operational GSM-R Cell (voice) 21½ m 26¼ m Hertford Test Area Test Track (Bi-Directional) Normal Service Track (Bi-Directional) Operational GSM-R Network 21
  22. 22. © Network Rail Consulting ENIF GSM-R Coverage with GPRS Stapleford Broadwater GPRS enabled GSM-R BTS REB REB FTN Stapleford Operational GSM-R Cell (voice) Broadwater Operational GSM-R Cell (voice) 21½ m 26¼ m Hertford Test Area Test Track (Bi-Directional) Normal Service Track (Bi-Directional) Reference GSM-R Network Broomhall Repeater Reference Cell 1 Reference Cell 4Reference Cell 3Reference Cell 2 GPRS enabled GSM-R BTS (Ref GSM-R Net’) 22
  23. 23. © Network Rail Consulting ETCS over GPRS (EoG) Project Objective of EU led Project is to draft new GPRS/ERTMS specifications and test prototype products against the specifications High level specifications have been drafted with ETCS data traffic model Testing has occurred in France, UK and Denmark Specifications to be finalised by Dec 2014 (recommendations) Specifications to be approved as part of ERTMS second maintenance release in 2015 Signalling compatible GPRS products (e.g. EVC and RBC) expected to be commercially available around 2016 23
  24. 24. © Network Rail Consulting Current Challenges Degraded mode management when GPRS is not fully available Start of Mission Terminal stations setup Optional or mandatory GPRS requirements within CCS TSI? Commercial availability of signalling & telecom products UK plan for ETCS deployment will implement GPRS when needed and when ready 24
  25. 25. © Network Rail Consulting The Future European Rail Agency principles for evolution of railway communications: Transition strategy to move over time to IP based technologies Split the application and communication layers for voice and data Involve telecom operators Use off the shelf technology Have common operational requirements and interoperability Maintain a high level of safety Evolution to be compatible with GSM-R 25
  26. 26. © Network Rail Consulting Summary FTNx will be the bearer for the future to support signalling and other railway applications Radio communication forms the backbone of modern signalling systems GSM-R is the chosen European system GPRS is the next step 26
  27. 27. Thank you Network Rail Consulting Pty Ltd Level 20 Tower 2 Darling Park 201 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000