News

Will Finnish 4G Really Boost On-Train WiFi Services?

(14 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
Finnish national railway company VR Group is negotiating with mobile network operators for the supply of better internet connection in trains. According to reports in the press, an improved service is expected to be offered from next month – using 4G signal along all routes. However, some commentators are sceptical about the level of change passengers should expect to see. For one thing, the coverage requirement was in the original terms of the 4G-licences, which stated that the new service must cover the state-owned tracks. Yet, the licences failed to stipulate field strengths or ......

Over £9 Million Up for Grabs in Bid to Boost New Rail Technology Services

(13 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
The UK Department for Transport is inviting bids for parts of a pot of £9.4 million as it aims to encourage new technologies designed to improve rail services. The cash, which is being made available via Innovate UK, will be doled out in chunks of £100,000 - £400,000 and organisations of any size may apply.   According to Innovate UK, the competition is designed “To fund projects which demonstrate for the first time how proven technologies, such as automation or innovative uses of data, could be used on the railways. The projects must seek to demonstrate the ......

Early Christmas Present as Ofcom and DfT Publish Data on UK Trackside Connectivity

(09 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
Christmas has come early for the hardy band of souls with an interest in improving train to shore wireless links – Ofcom has released its findings on the state of connectivity along the UK rail corridor.  Since October 2017 the UK telecoms regulator has been collecting data related to mobile signal strengths along the length and breadth of Britain’s railways. To do this, it has employed a series of four of Network Rail’s so-called “yellow” engineering trains. Now, just in time for the Festive Period, Ofcom is releasing the data collected between June 2018 ......

Swiss Trains to Offer Passengers GoMedia’s On-Board Infotainment Services

(08 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
UK-based on-train infotainment provider GoMedia has announced a major tie-up with Swiss National train operator SBB. Passengers travelling with SBB will now be able to receive passenger information services (PIS) throughout their journey. Initially at least, the free service will only be available on the operator’s International fleet of trains across Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France. The roll out of services, which started last month, will also enable customers to use GoMedia’s onboard entertainment platform to access up-to-date journey information such as the live train ......

BART Reveals Plan to Improve WiFi on Trains and Make Money

(08 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
The San Francisco based Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) says it has developed a plan to greatly improve cellular connectivity and WiFi coverage on its trains. The scheme, which will include improved links in stations and all along the agency’s public rights of way, will also, apparently, generate “substantial” revenue for the transit organisation. Later this week, the BART Board of Directors will vote on an agreement that’s been in the works for several years between the transit agency and Mobilitie, one of the largest private wireless infrastructure companies in the ......

Delhi Launches First Part of its Metro-Wide WiFi on Board System

(06 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
Delhi Metro has launched high-speed WiFi on its Airport Express train services and promised a swift roll out to the rest of the network. The free WiFi service is being installed and operated by the New Delhi-based Maxima Digital and Techno Sat Comm Consortium backed by Russian telco MaximaTelecom – which itself is behind the on-train WiFi services on the Moscow and St Petersburg Metros. The Airport Express Line connects New Delhi Railway Station in the heart of India’s capital to terminal T3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport. It runs for 22.7km and comprises six stations. ......

Virgin, Vodafone and McLaren Applied Trial 5G WiFi Services on-board West Coast Trains

(06 Dec 2019, BWCS Staff)
In the dying days of its franchise to operate trains on the UK’s West Coast Mainline, Virgin Trains has announced that it is trialling on-board 5G WiFi services. Virgin has been working with McLaren Applied and Vodafone to test the train to shore super-fast broadband. According to a combined statement from the companies involved, issued this morning, the technology has been trialled last month on services between London Euston and Birmingham New Street, and London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly. The trial participants are adamant that tests will continue after the switch-over date ......

Save the Date - Next Year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Details Announced

(26 Nov 2019, BWCS Staff)
BWCS has announced that next year’s WiFi on Trains Conference - TrainComms2020 - will take place on June the 10th and 11th. Already, the consultancy has signed up train operators from around the world to give their first-hand accounts of adding and upgrading WiFi services on their trains. There are more details on the brand-new website www.Traincomms.com “We’ve been heavily involved in this sector during this year, in particular”, reports Ross Parsons head of Transport at BWCS, “Both in consultancy and via launching and updating the online market database ......

WiFi on Indian Trains - “Within Four and a Half Years”

(25 Oct 2019, BWCS Staff)
Indian Rail Minister, Piyush Goyal, confirmed today that the government will push ahead with plans to put WiFi services in Indian trains over the next few years. He also said that the government is planning to provide free WiFi service in over 6,000 railway stations in India. Once the project to provide WiFi at stations across subcontinent has been completed, the government says it will start to roll out WiFi on board the trains themselves. Mr Goyal said the service will be free to passengers. He went on to state that the services should be up and running by the middle of 2024. In a ......

Texas City to Trial WiFi on Trains – Courtesy of Microsoft

(16 Oct 2019, BWCS Staff)
The city of Houston is to trial WiFi on board some local trains as part of a wide-ranging partnership with tech giant Microsoft. Metro – as the local transit agency is known – said it hopes to gather feedback from passengers on the selected services with a view to expanding the system to its entire Metro Rail network. The city’s Metro Rail system carries some 18.35 million riders a year on its 23 miles of track and the pilot scheme will be available on the East End and Southeast Lines. WiFi on board is also being trialled on two of the city’s bus routes. The test area ......

Finland to Force Mobile Companies to Cover Their Tracks

(15 Oct 2019, BWCS Staff)
Trains in Finland are to benefit from much improved on-train WiFi and 4G mobile connections along the length of the track. The Helsinki administration plans to force Finland’s three mobile network operators (MNOs) to ensure that a 4G signal is available all along all rail routes in the country – “no matter how remote”. According to national train operator VR’s own figures, 27% of passengers currently deem the mobile network and resultant WiFi service to be poor, while only 31% consider it to be good or very good. Of course, it is not only when trains disappear ......

Government and Telco Act Together to Reduce Blackspots and Add WiFi on NSW Rail Route

(07 Oct 2019, BWCS Staff)
Australian commuters riding the rails between Newcastle and Sydney have finally begun benefiting from long-promised improved mobile coverage. The AU$29 million infrastructure upgrade is being funded by national telecoms company Telstra in conjunction with the state and federal governments. According to local press reports, the first sections of the NSW rail corridor are now fitted with new mobile base stations and free WiFi at some stations. Federal Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, said last Friday that Telstra had completed the first stage of the planned mobile upgrade project ......

CP Pushes WiFi on Trains Into Suburbia in Bid to Boost Rider Numbers

(02 Oct 2019, BWCS Staff)
Portuguese train operator, Comboios de Portugal (CP), has announced plans to greatly expand its free WiFi on-board services. The state-owned company said today that it will launch WiFi on all local train lines running in and around Porto and Lisbon. The move follows a brief, but successful, trial of WiFi on the suburban routes to Sintra and Cascais in the nation’s capital city. CP launched a pilot scheme on the two city-based train services on 21st of August this year. During the trial run the company gathered data on both the performance of the train-to-shore link and how the public ......

Network Rail Signs Telent to Supply Free WiFi at all Major Train Stations

(30 Sep 2019, BWCS Staff)
Network Rail is to roll out free WiFi at the 20 major stations that it operates across the UK. The rail administrator said it plans to offer seamless connectivity and single sign-on at all of its stations, starting with London Victoria from next Spring. The service is reportedly “child-friendly” and can also be used on more than one device. Telent Technology has been contracted to survey, design and construct the systems. The move apparently follows research which showed that train passengers prize free access to toilets and WiFi (not simultaneously) above all other station ......

Thales and Vodafone Test “No-Driver” Trains Using 5G

(26 Sep 2019, BWCS Staff)
Defence and transport giant, Thales, has joined forces with Vodafone to test-run a driverless train controlled via a 5G mobile signal. The pair claim that the trial constitutes a first in this field. It was carried out at the “Smart Rail Connectivity Campus” in Germany, which is a joint project of more than 100 industry and academic partners led by the Technical University of Chemnitz and with the participation of Erzgebirge Railway. The driverless trains were set loose on the trial track in Erzgebirge where Vodafone has installed some 5G base stations. The mobile operator said ......

O-Train Riders to get WiFi and Enhanced Cellular Connections

(16 Sep 2019, BWCS Staff)
Canadian capital city, Ottowa, has announced plans to put WiFi onto one half of the O-Train system that serves its one million inhabitants. The news follows hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that WiFi is to be launched on trains and buses in the Toronto area. According to Mayor, Jim Watson, riders on the newly-launched Confederation Line will enjoy complimentary WiFi and improved on-board cellular service thanks to a partnership with Canadian telco TELUS Communications Inc. The system will ensure that passengers remain connected in tunnels and in stations.  The O-Train ......

WA Seeks WiFi for Prospector Train Service

(12 Sep 2019, BWCS Staff)
The Western Australian State Government has announced plans to add on-train passenger WiFi to the long-distance “Prospector” train service between Perth and Kalgoorlie. However, it is not clear how the train to shore connection will be handled as mobile reception along the route is virtually non-existent. The 653km (406 mile) train journey to the gold-mining city, currently takes some six hours and 45 minutes to complete. Mobile network coverage maps show that Telstra is the only one of Australia’s three national operators to have any kind of presence in Kalgoorlie. ......

WiFi on the GO to Hit Toronto

(05 Sep 2019, BWCS Staff)
Metrolinx, the Canadian state-owned transport agency, has signed a 5-year deal with Icomera to put WiFi onto all buses and trains in the Toronto area. The contract, said to be worth some Ca$65 million, will see the Swedish/UK supplier provide WiFi connectivity on all 1,475 buses and trains operated by Metrolinx’s subsidiary Go Transit.   According to Canada's Associate Transportation Minister, Kinga Surma, the roll-out is set to begin in the spring of next year, with the government aiming to have all GO vehicles online by the end of 2020. The new WiFi service will also ......
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