Siemens and DAMM Partner in Rail Communication

Siemens and DAMM, one of the leading providers of TETRA communication platform, announced an agreement to combine the international train control standard ETCS with the long range radio communication system TETRA for rail operators in Australia. The agreement will, for the first time, allow mining, freight and other entities to use long distance communication networks to control ETCS enabled trains with communication towers installed at distances of 10+ kilometres instead of the current typical requirement of 5-7kilometres.


freight rail communication
Siemens AG and DAMM partner to offer ETCS Advanced Train Control systems with TETRA Radio communications © DAMM

The agreement stemmed from the fact that the standard communication protocol used in European railways (GSM-R) is more suited to small distances and high population densities.  ETCS is quickly becoming the world standard for Main Line train control, however in countries like Australia, the large distances can make this very expensive to deploy. Combining ETCS with TETRA communications allows this interoperable standard to be deployed at a significantly reduced investment.

Speaking on the partnership, Max Eichhorn, Executive General Manager of Siemens Mobility in Australia and New Zealand said:


“Moving passengers and goods quickly, efficiently and safely is a daily challenge for most vendors. This cutting-edge solution leverages the power of TETRA technology to tackle the daily operational challenges and high long-term capital costs of rail networks moving across the significant distances within Australia.

“With each state mandating their own networks and no national framework, we wanted to introduce the most interoperable platform using ETCS that works anywhere in Australia. The agreement is particularly ingenious as it leverages existing infrastructure and networks, without the need to invest more, and prepares Australian rail for future technological progresses.”

Providing voice and data for critical emergency communications services among others, TETRA is a European standard. It operates over frequencies in the 400MHz region and gets a greater range than GSM or LTE which are 1.8, 2+ GHz, though with lower bandwidth.

Allan Detlefsen, Chief Commercial Officer of DAMM states:


“The success of the DAMM TetraFlex® system in the Australian market is based on high reliability due to decentralised architecture, and the best in class power efficiency. The mature IP65 outdoor base station can even run on solar power and needs no additional housing and no AC systems. Due to superior RF sensitivity less DAMM TetraFlex® base stations are required. For our customers this results in significant reduction of both CAPEX and OPEX in multiple ways”

“TETRA is a great fit for the mining industry as they are keen to deploy advanced systems like driverless trains and ETCS to get maximum efficiency. Using TETRA, Siemens enables the industry to do more with less, therefore increasing competitiveness.”

For the original press release from DAMM, please click here.

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