Australia: Radlink to deliver TETRA network for railway use in Central Queensland

Radlink Communications is set to deliver what it claims will be "one of the largest, most technologically advanced radio networks in Australia" after securing a contract with Aurizon, Australia's largest rail freight operator.

The network is due for completion early next year and will use TETRA digital radio technology, encompassing 79 sites and covering 2,670 kilometres of rail network, to link 50 coal mines and four major ports throughout Central Queensland.

The new system will consolidate four outdated independent analogue systems across Aurizon’s train control, shunting, maintenance and wayside operations, into a single cohesive TETRA network.

Radlink states that the new and improved network will provide a critical communications system “of the highest level of reliability and availability with no single point of failure”.

The new network will also deliver improved monitoring, remote diagnostics, overlapping radio coverage, GPS tracking and distress signal capabilities.

Created with flexibility and reliability in mind, Radlink’s technical solution uses DAMM Tetraflex radio base stations with Sepura radio terminals, while remaining fully open standard and interoperable with other approved TETRA radio terminals.

Radlink Communication’s project director, Scott Manson, says the system will provide Aurizon with a high-performance communications network.

“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,” he said.

The system will utilise Radlink’s Reveloc digital radio software, a platform specially designed to provide advanced functionality and unlock the full potential of digital radio systems such as TETRA.

Application’s available to Aurizon will include facilities such as Geofenced Auto Channel Change, Weather Alerts directly over the radio system from the Weather Watch website, Heat Maps tracking every radio on a mapping display showing identity, location, Speed Alerts and signal strength and a Mobile Phone Client giving two-way radio access and functionality on iPhone and Android Smartphones.

Radlink project manager Jimmy Whelan says construction of the network is advancing on-track for Radlink’s scheduled completion date.

“Installation of the project is running smoothly, with live testing producing seamless handover between neighbouring sites and measured signal strengths vastly exceeding customer expectations.

“Since being awarded the contract in mid-February of this year, we have advanced to stage three of the five stage project and are on schedule for our estimated completion in the first half of 2018.

“To ensure Quality of Service we are replacing all components of the existing radio system and adding an additional 19 sites to the old Aurizon radio network,” he said.

The last time Aurizon commissioned a new radio system was more than 20 years ago, so an overhaul of the old system was imperative to ensure reliable, secure communications to meet Aurizon’s operational requirements into the future.

Aurizon has been working alongside Radlink for a number of months on this project, construction is progressing ahead of schedule and initial tests of the system have provided “outstanding” results. Radlink is providing a complete turn-key design and construct radio network solution including required towers, solar installations, system interfaces and applications.

Radlink Communications is an Australian owned and operated telecommunication business, founded in 2007 by partners Jim Reid, Scott Manson and David Moran, with workshops and warehouse complexes in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.