Siemens Mobility wins Train Cab Radio contract in Norway

Siemens wins Norwegian Railway Vehicle Radio Installation Tender. 

OSLO, NORWAY: Siemens Mobility has won a six-year framework contract with the Norwegian rolling stock owner Norske tog AS to supply 570 GSM-R train cab radios.

The goal of the train cab radio upgrade is to address obsolescence issues, while keeping the risk and performance impact due to radio interference from 4G public mobile network operators at a minimum. The preliminary design work for the installation is underway.

The contract between the two parties includes an option to upgrade the existing radios to operate the 5G Future Railway Mobile Communications System (FRMCS). It is the first upgrade contract of its kind in the rail industry.

GSM-R Versus FRMCS

FRMCS technology is ultimately an important tool for digitization in the railway industry and a new generation worldwide telecommunications system for railways, which will replace GSM, which provides opportunities to enhance the passenger experience with live video entertainment, video security transmission and dynamic passenger information systems. The future FRMCS upgrade will adapt and reuse existing built-in infrastructure and minimize costs.

FRMCS will be the new standard for global telecommunications in rail and it will replace GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway). The current international wifeless communications standard for railway communications and applications is part of ERTMS and delivers signalling information directly to the train. However, GSM-R is a second-generation (2G) system, allowing data transfers at speeds of 100kbit/s. Designed more than 20 years ago, it simply cannot handle the data volumes needed for digital trains. Much of the installed GSM-R equipment already installed will reach the end of its lifespan in around 2030.

FRMCS on the other hand is a fifth-generation (5G) system and is designed to handle all of the applications that may be part of rail digitalisation.

Migrations from GSM-R to FRMCS are expected to take place between 2025 and 2035. Both systems are designed by the UIC in close co-operation with key industry stakeholders.

FRMCS will enhance features such as live video entertainment for passengers, video security transmission and dynamic passenger information systems. Fortunately, the migration to FRMCS will allow for existing on-board equipment to be adapted and re-used, which will keep costs down.

Siemens Mobility Trainborne Condition Monitoring

The contract with Norske tog AS includes a one-year trial of Siemens Mobility’s Trainborne Condition Monitoring (TBCM) application. It will allow Norske tog AS to monitor the condition of its track assets remotely. The application gathers condition data in real-time from the fleet and uses this data to generate a digital representation of the condition of the track assets. This will allow the operator to perform preventive and predictive maintenance.

Preliminary design work for the train cabin radio upgrade program is ongoing. The program is designed to provide significant benefits to passenger and freight transport and rail operators. This project will also reduce the risk and performance impact caused by radio interference from 4G mobile network operators.

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