Rail passengers can soon enjoy uninterrupted Internet connectivity with the Railways all set to equip main trunk routes with high speed mobile communication system.
This will also help in real-time monitoring of assets besides ensuring direct communication between gangmen and locopilots and station masters on condition of tracks.
Considered as one of the areas essential for transforming rail operation, the state-run transporter will be setting up the high speed mobile communication corridor at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 crore through PPP model.
Currently, the Railways has been using wireless systems for operational applications. It has deployed GSM-R networks on select routes for operational voice communications between train drivers and train controllers.
“Now we are planning to migrate to LTE-R (Long Term Evolution-Railways) technology from GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication-Railways), for creating high speed train communication corridor,” said a senior official of the signal and telecom wing of the Railway Ministry.
The high speed mobile corridor aims to support various safety, train operation and train management systems apart from offering broadband service to passengers.
Today, passengers expect uninterrupted Internet connectivity while travelling by train or at stations.
The system shall fulfil all these needs of passengers by setting up dedicated broadband network along the railway tracks, said the official.
The high speed mobile communication system would enable the public transporter to have next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.
It would also improve travel comfort of passengers by providing real-time multimedia information and access to social networks in stations or on the go.
It is expected that once implemented, the corridor will not only help in real-time monitoring of the assets, its maintenance and management, but will also help the Railways to provide next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.
The Railways has implemented mobile train radio communication system on 2,541 route km and further works on 3,408 route km are in progress.
Besides monitoring assets, it would provide a better passenger comfort and journey experience such as onboard Internet access, video on demand or other entertainment.