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 2023 - March - Kindleysides - ARTC National Train Communication System Technology Refresh Pro 2023 - March - Kindleysides - ARTC National Train Communication System Technology Refresh Project

Shaun Kindleysides

B Comp Sci, MBA 

There is a world of complexity that hides behind the end users’ visible façade in most technology-based systems. Such is the case with the National Train Communication System (NTCS), which provides train crew and rail network control staff the ability to contact each other via a one-touch call from their respective user interface. Both complex and bespoke for the ARTC Defined Interstate Rail Network, the NTCS relies on a large wide area network, with the final communications link to the train being delivered by Telstra’s NextG 3G mobile phone and data network. 
ARTC manages rail network in large areas of remote and unpopulated land, in which Telstra has no commercial imperative to provide mobile coverage. As such, in the 2010 implementation of the NTCS ARTC funded the construction of approximately 80 mobile communication towers to provide the required coverage for rail operations. With Telstra’s impending retirement of the 3G network set for June 2024, a project team has engaged key suppliers to upgrade the NTCS network sites and the ICE Radio communications equipment installed in locomotives. 
This paper provides a background and overview of the NTCS, outlines the key technologies that underpin the NTCS and describes the complexities, logistics, governance and decision-making principles that are driving the team toward a full deployment of 4GX communications by June 2024 via the NTCS Technology Refresh Project. 


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AuthorShaun Kindleysides
Created byJohn Aitken
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