SIGNAL+DRAHT | Issue 06/2019

The future of railway communication: from technology requirements and considerations to implementation

June 2019 | Karl Kernstock, Michael Mikulandra

Over the years, railway communication has been an essential element of the rail system and has supported safe and reliable train operations. The European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) has been implemented around a standardised telecommunications system called the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railways (GSM-R), as defined by the International Union of Railways (UIC). GSM-R has been designed to focus on railway operational requirements and it wholly supports the needs of rail operations today. GSM-R services are now field proven and they deliver unmatched reliability, which is not only linked to the stability and maturity of the specifications, but to a large extent is also a result of the expertise and understanding of how such a communications system for critical services has to be engineered and operated.