Agreement Signed for New Rail Communications System

Australian Rail Track Corporation Ltd (ARTC) today signed an Agreement with Telstra committing the parties to work towards the provisioning CDMA coverage across the Interstate rail network and the Hunter Valley.

On completion, the Interstate and Hunter Valley Rail Networks will have a common media (Telstra CDMA technology) from Brisbane to Perth via Melbourne, Broken Hill and the Hunter Valley, replacing the many disparate media..

David Marchant Chief Executive Officer of ARTC said today that “ARTC has taken another major step in its delivery of a reliable and integrated national rail system through the provision of a homogeneous communications system across its network.

“This is a great leap forward for rail to have a common media to control trains across the Interstate and Hunter Valley Rail Network. When the project is completed, all trains and train controllers will be able to use the one media to communicate with each other across the entire national rail network as well as the important export Hunter Valley Coal Network. David Marchant said.”

The Agreement follows the completion of a successful field trial. The intention is that Telstra’s CDMA network will provide continuous communication for the rail network.

This advance in train control and communications follows closely on the $1.3 billion investment strategy for the North South corridor announced by ARTC on 31 May.

Australian government funding under the Auslink National Transport Plan has been made available to provide this common communications system for the national rail network which will include the construction of an extra 40 communication towers and the associated equipment in locomotives and at train control.

“The benefit of CDMA will be its ability to provide for voice and data throughput at a much greater level than the systems historically used by railways.” David Marchant said.

Telstra Group Managing director of Business and government, Mr David Thodey, said Telstra was pleased to work with ARTC to develop technology solutions to improve communications.

“A single communications network utilising Telstra’s CDMA technology means safer railways for workers and the public and improved efficiencies for the ARTC, ”Mr Thodey said.

A fully integrated communications system to control trains has been the recommendation of many recent inquiries including the recent McInerney Inquiry into Waterfall.

Leon Welsby General Manager Strategy Development and Chief Information Officer for ARTC said “the Agreement signed today between ARTC and Telstra commits both parties to work diligently to finalise contractual arrangements by 31 August 2005.”

This includes finalising agreements for the Network Design and construction, a Lease Back Agreement, Services and Support Agreement and Nominated Carrier Declaration Agreement.

CDMA will be capable of meeting the data centric requirements of ATMS, the next generation train control technology.

Contact : Prue Regan ARTC 0419 297 004

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