Andrew to ensure radio coverage in world's longest rail tunnel

Wireless communication systems supplier Andrew has signed a contract with Alcatel-Lucent Switzerland to provide RF coverage solutions in the world’s longest railway tunnel. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will be 57km long.

Andrew will supply a multi-band, multi-operator fibre distributed antenna system and radiating cables to spread reliable, high-performance wireless coverage throughout the tunnel.

Railway operators and emergency personnel will be primary users of the system, which will support GSM-R and PMR communications standards. Public 2G and 3G mobile network customers will also benefit with improved coverage.

“Railway systems rely on clear and constant communication among train engineers and control centres for smooth and safe operation,” said Markus Kalt, vice president of business operations, EMEA, Wireless Innovations, Andrew.

Unique challenges in supporting railway communications in tunnels include the high-speed handoffs that are required as trains move through the tunnel. Gotthard Base Tunnel commuters will travel at speeds of up to 250km/h. Andrew’s ION-M solution, which includes over 600 remote units for this project, is tuned to handle such fast hand-offs.

In addition to the Gotthard Base Tunnel’s main carriageway tunnel tubes, the railway system consists of numerous access and service tunnels totalling 153km in length. Andrew’s RADIAX radiating cables will support the entire tunnel system.

AlpTransit Gotthard, a subsidiary of the Swiss Federal Railways, is constructing the Gotthard Base Tunnel as part of a new flat rail link through the Swiss Alps. It should become operational at the end of 2017.

Transtec Gotthard, a consortium of four industry leaders, has been contracted for the provisioning of the complete railway technology. Alcatel-Lucent Switzerland is the partner responsible for furnishing telecommunications and tunnel control technology.


Image: AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd

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