Telecommunications – the backbone of rail infrastructure

Moving people and products around Australia’s passenger and freight rail networks is a combination of many integral parts. Sitting behind these various elements is a less visible, but no less important, component of the industry – the enormous web of interconnecting and interlocking systems which keep our trains moving safely, efficiently and reliably. Australia’s rail companies employ constantly-evolving telecommunications systems that work seamlessly across the network to underpin rail infrastructure in our cities and across regional Australia.

Rail telecommunications systems provide essential support for signalling and electrification control systems, train and security radio systems, lineside and other mission critical communications, as well as CCTV and audio/visual customer information systems.

Telecommunication systems play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the rail network by providing for the reliable transmission of essential monitoring and control data between systems and assets, and critical audio communications between rail industry workers.

Every day, throughout their rail journey, passengers benefit from telecommunications systems that are linked with network control and tracking systems to automatically provide access to real-time service information through audio (Public Address and Customer Help Point) and visual means (Passenger Information Screens), or on their own devices using applications delivered through free Wi-Fi on trains. Digital advertising components have been an extension to Customer Service areas. Systems are also being deployed to inform customers where they should stand on a platform in order to avoid crowding and congestion.

From network control to track condition monitoring, traction power Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to customer help points, CCTV to radio, the telecommunications network allows the rail operators and maintainers to be connected to their assets, staff and customers. Without these networks constantly providing data and information, it would be impossible for maintainers to know the condition of their infrastructure and for the operators to monitor the performance of their systems.

Apart from maintenance, to ensure that the current telecommunications systems continue to support the mission-critical aspects of running a railway, rail operators will need to keep up with the ever-growing necessity to collect information in order to assist in making the best decisions. Having intelligent systems that are able to prioritise certain forms of traffic but with the capacity to transport high bandwidth applications is essential as the business needs change and grow.


The ARA Telecommunications Committee

The ARA Telecommunications Committee is comprised of telecommunications professionals representing Arc infrastructure, ARTC, Department of Transport Victoria, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure South Australia, One Rail Australia, MTM, Public Transport Authority of Western Australia, Queensland Rail, Sydney Trains, Transport for NSW, V/Line and VicTrack. 

Committee members share information and work together on matters relating to telecommunications with a specific focus on rail industry spectrum issues.


More Information

For more information, please contact Maria Morozova at or on 02 6270 4503.


Key Documents