Aurizon, Australia’s largest rail freight operator, has purchased 3,000 Sepura terminals for use on its new TETRA network which is due to be operational this year and is being delivered by Radlink Communications, Sepura’s partners in Australia.

The terminals consist of 1,200 Sepura SC20 hand portable radios and 1,800 SRG3900 mobile terminals – the latter will be installed across the train fleet. Sepura has delivered all the terminals and the programming and vehicle installation phase is well underway.

Aurizon selected the SC20 due to its robustness, radio performance, extended coverage capabilities (including improved receiver sensitivity). Sepura's Short Data Application (SDA) is enabling the use of applications developed by Radlnk for Aurizon, including: geofenced automatic voice channel selection, extreme weather alerts, heat maps of radios showing identity and location, excessive speed warnings, signal strength tracking and a mobile phone client providing two-way radio access and functionality on smartphones.

The new TETRA radio network will replace four analogue systems, encompassing train control, shunting, maintenance and wayside operations and have no single point of failure. It encompasses 79 sites across 2,670 kilometres of rail and will link 50 coal mines and four major ports throughout central Queensland. Construction is ahead of schedule – Radlink designed and installed 79 TETRA base stations (including two control rooms, disaster recovery trailers and 15 new tower structures) in a 14 month installation programme across the Central Queensland landscape – an area in close to the size of Germany. Radlink won the “Best Use of TETRA for Transport” for its work on the project at the International Critical Communications Awards during Critical Communications World (CCW) in Berlin last year.

Leading lights ­– ICCAs 2018

The new network will provide improved monitoring, remote diagnostics, overlapping radio coverage, GPS tracking and distress signal capabilities, enhancing control room oversight of operations and improving staff safety.

Radlink Communication’s project director, Scott Manson, says “The system we are implementing for Aurizon is truly ground-breaking in terms of its sheer scale, functionality and capability. The new TETRA network will be fully integrated to operate over the Aurizon Central Queensland MPLS network and will provide greater radio coverage, increased reliability and advanced monitoring for what will be a critical communications network”.

Doug Bowden, senior business development manager for Sepura in Australia said: “The success of Sepura terminals in supporting this project further proves Sepura’s reputation as a trusted solution provider for the transportation, mining, oil and gas industries in Australia. Through the experience and expertise of our partners such as Radlink, we continue to provide secure, reliable critical voice and data communication solutions for some of the world’s harshest environments”.

Author: Sam Fenwick