News


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Two Weeks to go Until Train Communications Systems 2016 …

(25 May 2016, BWCS Staff)
With only a fortnight to go until this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2016 (London, June 8th and 9th) there are literally only a handful of tickets left – so please contact us now, if you have not already reserved your place.  There is more information and a full list of speakers at www.Traincomms2016.com . As ever, we have focused on getting train operators, from all over the world to share their real-life stories of putting WiFi onto their trains, fighting to keep the customers happy and struggling to add new services and increase ......

WiFi on the Fly …

(19 May 2016, BWCS Staff)
In a move that echoes recent suggestions to use drones to supply on-train WiFi, a zoo in the UK has reportedly trained parrots to effectively become mobile WiFi hotspots. Chessington World of Adventure says it has enrolled two colourful Macaws to carry WiFi routers around the park. Dubbed “FlyFi” the birds are seen as an effective way to get Chessington’s new WiFi system off the ground. The idea has echoes of suggestions, made last year that one way of covering track-side “not-spots” along UK and European rail systems would be to employ drones to relay mobile ......

WiFi Spreads across Southern England’s Stations and Some Trains …

(18 May 2016, BWCS Staff)
Passengers on Southern Railway, Thameslink and Gatwick Express can now access WiFi at 105 stations across Southern England. However, of the three operators, the London airport train service is the only one to offer on-board WiFi access. According to Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) - “There’s no advertising and no catch – just free unlimited WiFi for whoever logs on at 105 of our stations.” He continued, “Passengers can use our On Track app to see the progress of their trains, plan journeys and even book a ticket.” The service is being ......

Supplier to Show New Trackside Solution at TrainComms

(18 May 2016, BWCS Staff)
Nomad will share insight into a recently deployed ground-breaking technology solution at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference - Train Communications Systems 2016. The Newcastle-based company recently procured, designed and configured what is reportedly the first WiMAX trackside system to support operationally critical rail signalling communications in North America. The system provides communications for operational applications such as positive train control, closed-circuit television, passenger emergency information, public announcement and maintenance data systems. Nomad, together ......

WiFi Goes Underground in China

(10 May 2016, BWCS Staff)
The so-called “inter-city subway” connecting Guangzhou and Foshan in south China has begun offering WiFi connections on the trains and at the stations. The new line, which extends 32km through 18 stations, is reportedly the first underground route to connect two cities together in China. Whilst the Metro was opened in 2010, a trial of the WiFi system was not launched until the 24th April, this year. So far, the transit company reports, it has recorded an average of nearly 10,000 users online at the same time, with WiFi speed of no less than 512kbs, even at peak hours. China Net ......

Icomera WiFi Solution on ICE – in Germany

(29 Apr 2016, BWCS Staff)
German train operator Deutsch Bahn has chosen Icomera to supply on-board Internet connectivity for passengers on its extensive fleet of long distance ICE trains. According to the Swedish-based technology company, the contract covers all 259 ICE trains currently in operation, plus a further 130 which are on order. The ICE trains, which come in four different iterations – the first set being deployed back in 1991, with the latest (ICE TD) being brought into service in 2001-2003, are the flagships of DB’s extensive armada of rolling stock. The German company reports that work on ......

Major Metro System to get Free On-Train WiFi

(20 Apr 2016, BWCS Staff)
Passengers on the Delhi Metro, one of the largest urban rail systems in the World, will soon be offered free on-board WiFi via an app. With approximately 2.75 million passengers using the sprawling Metro network every day, the companies backing the new system believe they will offer advertisers a chance to reach an audience far greater than that currently offered by The Times of India. The Metro, which has five lines stretching 213km around Delhi and its satellite cities of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad, is no stranger to new technology, already boasting driverless trains and ......

Indian Express Comes with WiFi On-Board

(06 Apr 2016, BWCS Staff)
India has launched its first “semi-high speed train”, equipped with free on-board WiFi. Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu oversaw the inaugural departure of the Gatiman Express from Nizamuddin station yesterday. The new service will cover the 200km between Delhi and Agra in one hour and 40 minutes, reaching a top speed of 160km per hour along the way. As the train pulled out, the Minister went on record as saying that his government wants “To increase speed of all trains whether ordinary or express as part of our mission. It is not an easy task. It will take time but we have made ......

South West Trains Extends WiFi Coverage Still Further – this Time with Icomera

(04 Apr 2016, BWCS Staff)
Icomera says it has won the contract to supply free WiFi on board South West Trains’ fleet of Class 158 /159 trains. The project will see UK/Swedish WiFi specialist install its mobile Internet connectivity system on 41 trains, in addition to those already kitted out for WiFi by Nomad Digital (see below). For the first time WiFi will be available on services running West of Salisbury, which will come as a relief to passengers who have long petitioned for such an extension. Icomera has a long-standing relationship with Stagecoach Group, which owns South West Trains. Last month, the train ......

Amtrak Fights Back

(01 Apr 2016, BWCS Staff)
US train operator Amtrak announced today that it is expanding the availability of its cellular-based on-board WiFi service, AmtrakConnect. At the same time as it rolls out coverage to 90% of its trains, the company said it will add “new wireless technology on board” and that this will lead to “overall improvements in reliability and performance.” The move comes as airlines, with relatively fast WiFi, are putting increasing pressure on Amtrak to follow suit. A study of recent tweets from customers on-board trains along the East Coast, reveals a mixture of gratitude ......

On Off Tale of Chinese WiFi on Trains

(24 Mar 2016, BWCS Staff)
The long-running saga of WiFi on Chinese trains has taken another turn. Following recent reports that high-speed trains would not offer on-board passenger Internet services, the Beijing Railway Bureau said that it is in the midst of kitting out over 100 not-so-high-speed trains. At the same time, reports on the China Daily website said that Jinan Railway Bureau is testing free WiFi on 75 trains. This comes despite the Chinese Rail Minister stating recently that passengers would be better off “looking out of the windows” on bullet trains. This time last year, passengers on trains ......

Irish Rail Pondering How to Make Money from Free WiFi …

(17 Mar 2016, BWCS Staff)
With large parts of Ireland left deserted as the inhabitants descend on the sleepy market town of Cheltenham to indulge in the annual horse-racing / Guinness drinking festival, back home, transport operator CIÉ, is mulling ways to make money its free WiFi services. The company has invested heavily to provide WiFi on all Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services and is now engaging consultants (not us) to see how it could be used to generate cash. Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Barry Kenny, of CIÉ, stressed that basic access to the Net will remain free. Kenny, commented ......

South West Adds Passenger Internet as UK Set to Drive On-Train WiFi Forward

(11 Mar 2016, BWCS Staff)
UK train operator South West Trains says that is now able to offer passenger WiFi on 127 of its Class 450 trains. The latest implementation, by long-time tech partner Nomad Digital, follows the work that the supplier undertook in 2014 to put WiFi onto South West’s 45 Class 444 ‘Desiro’ trains. According to the operator, free WiFi is now available on more than half of all its services. This equates to around 5,545 train services per week. Nomad says that its networked train solution also allows train operators the opportunity to add future applications such as CCTV services ......

Keynote Speakers to Discuss Future Path of On-Train WiFi at Train Comms Conference

(03 Mar 2016, BWCS Staff)
BWCS is delighted to announce a major keynote speaker for this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2016 (London, 8th and 9th of June). Gavin James – Project Sponsor of the Digital Railways Group in the Department for Transport and the man behind the government’s proposed £50 million investment in free, on-train WiFi in the UK, will report back on the consultation that he announced exclusively at last year’s WiFi on Trains Conference. “In a great speech last year, Gavin launched ‘a call to arms’ for the WiFi on ......

New Indian Metro Trains Show the Way in Adding Free WiFi

(02 Mar 2016, BWCS Staff)
Good news for the estimated daily 50,000 would-be passengers on the soon-to-be-completed, brand new, Kochi Metro System in Kerala, India – free WiFi is to be made available on all trains. The sometimes controversial and always ambitious plan to encircle the South-Western Indian city with a shiny new train service will see 25 Alstom-supplied trains running between 22 newly-created stations. It is due to go into service this June, at a cost of some 5,181 Crore (US$760 million) although some estimates say the investment will be much higher. The announcement of free WiFi on all ......

Mobile Company Signs Up to Help Boost On-Train WiFi

(17 Feb 2016, BWCS Staff)
Chiltern Railways and Icomera say they have signed a deal with UK mobile network operator EE to boost on-board WiFi and mobile coverage. The Arriva-owned train company says its goal is to eliminate so-called mobile black spots where connectivity drops off. EE will do this through a mixture of adding new base stations and building some trackside masts. Icomera provides the on-board connectivity solution but relies on mobile network operators to provide a decent signal on Chiltern’s routes. The deal marks one of the first cases of mobile companies stepping up to improve wireless links ......

Leading Suppliers Make Headway as Speakers Announced for WiFi on Trains Conference

(17 Feb 2016, BWCS Staff)
It’s a sign of the times, two of the leading suppliers of WiFi on train systems have this week cut deals that tie them ever closer to train operating companies. First, Icomera and Chiltern Railways made an agreement to boost coverage by having UK mobile company EE install new masts near the tracks, then Dutch passenger rail company NS signed up Nomad Digital to provide on-board WiFi and PIS services for a further five years. Icomera (Gold) and Nomad (Silver) are two of the main sponsors of this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2016, hosted by ......

The Search is on for Indian Rail WiFi

(22 Jan 2016, BWCS Staff)
Google’s much-vaunted WiFi for passenger services at railway stations in India will kick off this week. The US-based online giant is working with Indian Railways’ RailTel Corporation to eventually offer WiFi at 400 stations nationwide. The wireless internet connections will be backed by RailTel’s huge fibre-optic infrastructure. Currently its network covers some 26,000 miles of railway track snaking its way round the subcontinent. The company says it plans to increase this to 33,000 miles. The first terminus to be WiFi-ed up will be Mumbai Central which sees almost 1,000 ......

France Says Au Revoir (but not Goodbye) to On-Train WiFi

(18 Jan 2016, BWCS Staff)
SNCF seems to have pulled the plug on plans to introduce WiFi on trains this year. The French operator admitted at the weekend that it has delayed the roll out of internet access to every passenger train in the country until 2017. The hold-up appears to be less than satisfactory mobile phone coverage along the rail network. The head of SNCF, Guillaume Pépy, stated last year that that all French trains would have wireless internet connectivity by the end of 2016, at a cost of some €150 million. However, following the realisation that the necessary mobile network infrastructure is not yet ......

WiFi on Trains to Cover Bangladesh

(15 Jan 2016, BWCS Staff)
Bangladesh Railways is set to become the latest in a long line of train operators around the world to start offering passenger WiFi services. According to reports in the local Financial Express newspaper, the country’s rail minister announced the plans to a waiting public and parliament this week. The state-owned rail company will also use the WiFi network for back office services which will be introduced gradually. The Minister, Mohammed Mazibul Hoque, was speaking at the formal inauguration of WiFi services at some stations. Bangladesh Railways is in the strange situation of having ......

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