Australian Rail Track Corporation signs 10-year comms contract with Telstra

Multi-million-dollar deal follows switch-off of analog radio system last year

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has signed a 10-year contract with Telstra for the ongoing provision of the National Train Communications System.

The NTCS operates on Telstra's mobile network with satellite as a backup.

The project began in 2007 and was completed late last year with the switch-off of ARTC's last two regional radio systems.

The digital communications system covers ARTC's 8500-kilometre rail freight network.

"The Telstra-based NTCS will provide a platform for many of the new and exciting innovations being developed by ARTC," ARTC CEO John Fullerton said in a statement.

"Using the Telstra NextG network, applications such as safe travelling distance technology (proximity alerting), real-time locomotive tracking, sophisticated track and wayside monitoring technology, situational awareness systems and the next generation of train management — the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) — all become possible."

Telstra built 70 base stations and 11 radio-fitted tunnels specifically for the project. In total, the NTCS employs 1024 Telstra mobile sites.

As part of the engagement, ARTC was shifted into a private cloud environment based on VCE's Vblock converged infrastructure, Telstra said.

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