Consultants in digital radio techniques take the tram community to a different stage

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As part of the West Midlands Metro’s £ 1.3 billion upgrade, a digital radio communications system was developed to provide a new platform for communications that is vital to tram operations.

The new radio system, developed and provided by TES Communication Solutions, will further enhance the voice and data capabilities of the current and future network for Transport For West Midlands, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority.

In the coming years, the network will triple with additional trams, upgrades to the depot maintenance facilities and the Operations Control Center.

The upgrade and expansion program includes a range of control, communication and passenger information systems that support and maintain the smooth operation of the tram. They provided the West Midlands Metro with the ability to monitor tram movements and passengers over the network, and provided the mechanism to respond to incidents with accuracy and efficiency.

WMCA’s Mike Pelling said, “We are using proven digital technology and adapting it to our operating model for our purposes. We need to make sure that our trams users can feel safe and that our drivers and operators know they have the best technology to help them do their jobs.

“The tram system is also playing an increasingly important role in reducing CO2 emissions in the region while reducing road traffic.”

The new digital mobile radio device will be connected to the current automatic vehicle location system of the subway in order to provide the data carrier for some of the on-board systems. This enables the AVLS to communicate with the operators in the control center in real time.

This is a major improvement over the current VHF system, which can only operate with voice calls. With the changeover to the new network, all existing trams will be converted to the new radio system in the coming months.

Due to the significant investment and expansion in the West Midlands Metro, the Centenary Square expansion opened in December 2019 with the Edgbaston expansion due to open this year, followed by the Wolverhampton expansion. A new branch line with another 15 tram stops to Brierley Hill is currently being built and will be operational in 2023.

Wesley Shilton, Director of TES said, “This is a huge improvement to the system and means we can offer additional coverage geographically as the network expands to meet its needs in the West Midlands. In the event of a major incident, this dedicated system can operate independently and enable the independent use of public telephone and radio networks.

“We worked closely with the WMCA team to design and develop a wireless network that we know is proven but tailored to their specific needs. This type of system is now functional and future-proof for large regional operations such as the West Midlands Metro. “

TES Communication Solutions radio systems have been installed in transportation and infrastructure systems around the world where dedicated communication is required, including Taiwan, Guatemala, Manchester Metrolink, Blackpool Transport, UBS Bank and Astra Zeneca.

The expansion of the system will eventually include a route to Birmingham International Airport, which is currently in the design phase. The combined authority has also ordered an additional 21 trams to facilitate expansion.

This was published in the news section of Bdaily by Paul Tustin.

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