Satellite-based rail control system tested in Sardinia

Tuesday 6 May 2014 | 16:20 CET | News
Ansaldo STS, a Finmeccanica company, has begun testing its satellite control system for regional railways on a 50 km line in Sardinia, reports website Key4Biz. The 3InSat system involves using satellite technologies and existing public mobile networks (GSM/3G) in lieu of dedicated railway communications radio infrastructure (GSM-R) and wired communications infrastructure along railway tracks. The introduction of the European standard known as European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in 2004 represented a major breakthrough for train control and command systems. However, the implementation of ERTMS requires significant investments in ground infrastructure for positioning and telecommunication purposes, preventing its wider deployment, above all in regional and remote railways lines, where traffic level is typically low.

The 3InSat project is looking to develop and validate a new satellite-based platform to be integrated into an ERTMS system, using SatNav and SatCom to complement or replace ground-based infrastructure. The platform, which uses Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) system and Vodafone’s M2M data services, will be further tested in Sardinia over the coming months. Ansaldo emphasised the implications of the service for regional and local railway lines and added that it paved the way for the creation of cost-efficient signalling systems that, for the first time, used existing public telecommunications and satellite networks.

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