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Nortel makes railway wireless

GSM-R technology is to be provided for Algerian railways

Nortel has been selected to provide wireless communications with GSM-R technology for two new railway lines in Algeria.

"Nortel's global leadership in GSM-R is the result of an early and significant investment in this technology which has been developed to meet the communications needs of leading railways worldwide", said Michel Clement, president, Nortel Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The introduction of the wireless technology is expected to improve safety and increase average train speeds while at the same time reducing operational costs. According to the company it will also increase network interoperability and support new voice applications such as railway emergency and group conference calls.

The Algerian railway infrastructure agency, Agence Nationale d'Etudes et de Suivi de la Réalisation des Investissements Ferroviaires (ANESRIF) is managing the modernisation of the Algerian railway system, including the construction of new railway lines, signalling systems and other railway equipment.

The introduction of GSM-R on the two new railway lines at Tabia-Mecheria and Bordj Bouarreridj - M'Sila will extend the first GSM-R network awarded to Nortel in 2006 for the El Gourzi-Touggourt line in Eastern Algeria. The new lines are managed by Algeria's SNTF (Société Nationale des Transports Ferroviares), the first African railway operator to adopt the GSM-R standard.

Nortel's GSM-R solution is designed to be interoperable and highly flexible, supporting signalling systems from different vendors already deployed along the Algerian rail network. This new deployment includes integrating the GSM-R radio system to ANESRIF's core network, GSM-R terminals such as handhelds and cab radios, as well as related telecom services for the railway lines.

According to Nortel, the technology will help increase the efficiency and safety of the railway by supporting reliable and secure communications among railway operational staff, including drivers, dispatchers, train engineers and station controllers. GSM-R is part of the new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) standard and carries the signalling information directly to the train driver, enabling faster train speeds and increased traffic density while maintaining a high level of safety.

"The solution will help ANESRIF and SNTF provide a better, safer service at a lower operational cost, helping them meet their modernisation plans to create the most modern and advanced railway network in Africa," concluded Clement.