HS2 Promises Superior Connectivity for 21st Century Rail Travel

HS2 has promised passengers will have seamless mobile coverage across the entire high-speed rail network.

This will ensure uninterrupted calls and video streaming even when travelling through tunnels – as long as passengers are connected to the train’s onboard wifi service.

Those at HS2 stations have also been guaranteed the same level of reliable service.

Artists impression of an HS2 train at a platform
Artists impression of an HS2 train at a platform

In a move away from lineside railway signalling, HS2’s will be radio-based, using a sequence of masts every two to three kilometres along the route and radio feeder cables running the length of the tunnels.

This infrastructure has been designed to also deliver passengers’ mobile connectivity.

Both sets of signals will be picked by the trains’ radio antennae, with onboard equipment transmitting the passenger signal throughout the train.

HS2 engineers believe that the train picking up the signal from the railway’s telecoms infrastructure will provide a much better service. This is because when passengers rely on their own devices to link to passing masts, bandwidth is reduced and the risk of signal dropouts is much higher.

Richard Kirkham, HS2’s Head of Project Delivery for communication systems, said:

“The massive advantage of taking a clean sheet of paper and developing a new railway network for the 21st century, to operate in the twenty first century, is that we can build in the things people expect, like modern telecoms.

“In practice that means HS2 tunnels, open route sections, stations and trains all include telecoms in their design specification, which enables the railway to operate as a single system.”

To ensure the network is futureproof, it was also designed to be capable of supporting future generations of communications technology.

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