Siemens Develops Dual-Mode GSM-R Radio for South Africa

Posted by Barry Pearson on July 8, 2015  |   Comments Off on Siemens Develops Dual-Mode GSM-R Radio for South Africa

With a strong presence in the country and a proven track record of successful project delivery for the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (PRASA), including the re-signalling of the Sishen to Saldanha line, Siemens has now developed a unique cab radio solution specifically for South Africa.

Developed to maximise the benefit from over 12,000 kilometres of commuter railway, which will be capable of operating GSM-R communications by the end of 2015, Siemens’ new dual-mode system provides a single man-machine interface that is capable of operating seamlessly across both the current analogue and new GSM-R networks.

Given that there are no plans to roll out GSM-R through South Africa’s rail network and that the country’s entire fleet of trains is to be replaced by 2023, this new dual-mode radio delivers a range of benefits for train manufacturers, operators and drivers.
For the manufacturer, installing a single unit with dual capability and just one loudspeaker (rather than having to fit two systems, one for analogue and one for digital), will save valuable space in the cab as well as significantly reducing installation time and expense. It will also minimise the requirement and cost of ongoing maintenance and future upgrades.

From the drivers’ viewpoint, the use of a single radio for all network areas means being trained on, and becoming familiar, with just one system rather than two, and then benefitting from uninterrupted operation across an entire journey.

Commenting on the new product, Siemens’ Head of Sales and Marketing, Ciro De Col said: “As the leading supplier of GSM-R solutions, our systems are in successful operation in the UK, Europe, Australia, India and Africa and are proven in extremely challenging terrains such as Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

“In developing this dual-mode system, our engineers have incorporated the very latest transceiver module technology to ensure effective coverage across the entire network, together with resilience to 4G interferences. However, we were also determined to ‘future-proof’ the equipment. Consequently, it is ready to receive global positioning system (GPS), long-term evolution (LTE) and Wi-Fi boards, while any future software may be remotely uploaded. The system is also capable of receiving additional functionality, such as our driver advisory system (DAS) and remote condition monitoring (RCM) modules that we are continuing to develop to more fully utilise GSM-R capability”.
Although the system has been developed specifically to meet PRASA’s requirements, the dual-mode analogue/ GSM-R radio would be suitable for operation on any network needing to cover both analogue and digital channels.

Siemens Rail Automation is a global leader in the design, supply, installation and commissioning of track-side and train-borne signalling and train control solutions. Its portfolio includes train control, interlocking systems, operations control systems, components, track vacancy detection, level-crossing protection, rail communications, and cargo automation for both passenger and freight rail operators.

Siemens Rail Automation employs over 9,500 people across a network of offices worldwide. In the UK, 1,650 employees operate from offices in Chippenham, London, Croydon, Poole, Birmingham, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Manchester, York, Glasgow and Newport, delivering both mainline and mass transit programmes. For more information, visit