News


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Most Greater Anglia Trains get WiFi

(21 Mar 2019, BWCS Staff)
Free WiFi is now available on almost all Greater Anglia trains, the TOC has announced. GA, a joint venture between Abellio, the international arm of the state-owned Dutch national rail operator (60%), and the Japanese company Mitsui (40%) has reportedly spent £4.8 million on retrofitting its current fleet of 840 carriages. This is in spite of the imminent arrival of new WiFi-equipped rolling stock.   Greater Anglia operates trains in and out of London’s Liverpool Street Station, across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and parts of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. It also ......

Indian Railways Wants to Hear from Suppliers Regarding a 64,000km Trackside Comms Network

(18 Mar 2019, BWCS Staff)
As Indian Railways’ subsidiary RailTel launches a massive tender for trackside to train connection services, BWCS spoke to Ashutosh Vasant, Director of RailTel and the man in charge of its WiFi project. Mr Vasant will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – (www.Traincomms2019.com)  “The tender documents are now live” Mr Vasant told us. Eschewing the now creaking trackside comms GSM-R system, which has been slowly rolled out across Europe, RailTel, has opted to follow countries like South Korea and leap straight into LTE-R. ......

Vietnam to get WiFi on Trains

(11 Mar 2019, BWCS Staff)
Vietnam Railways (VNR) has announced plans to install WiFi on all of its trains running on the main North-South routes later this year. In addition, it will add a raft of new mobile services aimed at offering better passenger information. The route, which snakes along the coast between Hanoi in the North and Ho-Chi-Minh in the South currently takes trains just shy of 30 hours to cover. In total, the line stretches 1,726km (1,070 miles) and equates to the lion’s share of the total rail network in Vietnam of 2,600km. According to a spokesman for VNR, quoted in the local press, the ......

Speakers Announced for This year’s WiFi on Trains Conference - Train Communications Systems 2019

(07 Mar 2019, BWCS Staff)
Good morning, As a subscriber to our WiFi on Trains news, we just wanted to let you know that we have now lined up all of the speakers for this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2019 (London, June 4th and 5th). As ever, the conference will be 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, struggling to add new services and dealing with new systems to increase bandwidth. The main European and UK train operators as well as ones from ......

FirstGroup to Roll Out 5G Train Connectivity

(26 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
FirstGroup has announced a deal to become Britain’s first 5G railway network. It will work with Blu Wireless to bring superfast WiFi to the Southern Western Railway franchise. However, Icomera will continue to supply on-board WiFi equipment and services to the franchise operator. The UK-based transport group has been working with Blu Wireless, Network Rail and the DfT, on what it refers to as an ‘end-to-end 5G solution’, marking a UK market first in bringing 5G to trains. The system, based on mmWave technology, is reportedly capable of processing volumes of data up to 100 ......

GoMedia and TransPennine Express Launch Real-Time Customer Information Service

(25 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
UK-based infotainment platform supplier GoMedia is today launching what it says is the UK rail industry’s first real-time, on-board, customer information solution. The system has gone live on TransPennine Express (TPE) trains and uses live data to update customers on the status of their journeys. TPE and GoMedia have developed Exstream, an on-board infotainment system which uses multiple data sources and GPS mapping to provide accurate arrival and departure times, platform numbers and onward travel options to TPE passengers. The TPE franchise was awarded to First Group in 2016, when ......

Satisfaction with UK, On-Train WiFi Connections Improving, but Much Still to be Done – say Surveys

(25 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
Two recently released surveys of train passengers underline there is much work still to be done to improve trackside connectivity along the UK rail network. According to the Transport Focus’ National Rail Passengers Survey (NPRS), 52% of the 10,935 respondents said they were “dissatisfied” with the on-board internet connection on UK trains. However, it should be noted that this number has consecutively improved over each of the last two sample periods – Spring 2018 and Autumn 2017. Meanwhile, according to an Opinium survey of 1,001 travellers, a staggering 86% of UK ......

New On-Train WiFi and Digital Mapping Systems for Chennai Metro

(20 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
Chennai Metro is set to become the latest Indian city transport system to introduce on-train WiFi. According to reports in the Indian press, parent company Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has floated tenders to supply WiFi services on the 32 stations and in the train carriages of the 45km network. Opened in 2015, Chennai Metro is a two line, 42 train system that criss-crosses the sprawling Southern Indian city of just over 7 million people. It has a ridership of some 1 million passengers per day. Operations are set to begin soon in North Chennai, with an extension from Washermanpet to ......

On-Train WiFi User Numbers to Rocket - according to New Online Database

(11 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
The number of passengers accessing WiFi on trains across Europe is set to soar to over 5.3 billion by 2028, almost five times the current total, according to figures from www.internet4trains.com, BWCS’ new online database launched today. In 2018, the number of train travellers using on-board Internet services in Europe stood at just over 1.27 billion (12%) of the total and BWCS predicts that this will rise to over 5.3 billion (43% of total) within ten years. However, the consultancy warns that without significant investment in many markets, the on-board WiFi services may fail to meet ......

UK Train Company Makes WiFi Free for All

(05 Feb 2019, BWCS Staff)
UK government-owned train operator London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has made WiFi available for free on all of its services. Up until now, on-board passenger Internet access has been free only to First Class passengers and those in second who had booked directly through LNER. Anyone else was subject to a £5 per journey charge. According to LNER, the decision to make WiFi free for all travellers in its 65 trains (495 carriages) was primarily driven by the importance of connectivity amongst the UK population. The service is now available via a quick online sign-in process. The train ......

Government Scraps Major Part of £35 Million UK Trackside Wireless Trial

(31 Jan 2019, BWCS Staff)
The UK Government announced today that it has decided to ditch part of its £35 million trial of 5G based mobile and fixed line fibre technology on the Trans Pennine rail route. The train tracks running between Manchester and York had been designated as an important trial area for new trackside wireless systems, supported by the Department for Culture Media and Science (DCMS). The Trans Pennine Initiative (TPI) came into being to support ambitious proposals from the Government aimed at bringing “uninterrupted” WiFi and Mobile (5G) broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps to all UK ......

Northern Trains Emerge from Refurbishment with Icomera Platforms

(24 Jan 2019, BWCS Staff)
The spread of WiFi across the UK rail network continues apace with today’s announcement from Icomera that it is has partnered with Northern to launch the train operator’s first fully-refurbished digital train. According to figures from BWCS’ Internet4Trains database, the current level of penetration of WiFi in the UK rail market stands at 65.4% (end 2018), but this is expected to grow rapidly over the coming two years. The Northern Franchise Rail network is one of the most extensive in Britain and is one of two serving the north of England. It provides inter-urban, commuter ......

Cross Country Runs Free WiFi on all Trains

(24 Jan 2019, BWCS Staff)
UK train operating company Cross Country says it has completed a year-long project to fit all of its 92 trains with WiFi. In addition, the Arriva-owned company has revealed that from this month, all passengers can now access the service for free. Previously it had only been free for First Class customers. Second Class ticket-holders had faced paying £2 for a one-hour connection. As its name suggests, the Cross Country franchise operates long-distance routes across the UK, including the longest train journey from Aberdeen in the NE of Scotland to Penzance in the SW of England. All of ......

Vancouver Trains and Buses to get Free WiFi - for Free

(23 Jan 2019, BWCS Staff)
Metro Vancouver is set to become one of the first cities in the world to offer free WiFi connections to passengers on all modes of its transit services. Translink, Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority responsible for transporting travellers across 21 municipalities, said recently that it plans to launch the WiFi service in 2020, and that it will not cost tax-payers, or riders, a single cent. The service will cover all the buses, SkyTrains and ferries (SeaBus) as they criss-cross the 1,800 square kilometres of Metro Vancouver. SkyTrain alone has a daily ridership of some 490,000 ......

Perth Trials WiFi on Two Train Lines

(17 Jan 2019, BWCS Staff)
The regional government for Western Australia has taken the first tentative steps towards putting free WiFi on all public transport across the state. From this week two trains running on the Mandurah and Joondalup Lines in and out of Perth will offer on-board passenger WiFi. The pilot scheme follows an announcement last August by WA transport minister Rita Saffioti. Speaking at the time, Saffioti said that this is “Something the government is keen to trial to see if we can further improve the passenger experience.” Following the trial, usage and feedback will determine ......

Just before everyone disappears for the Festive break…

(19 Dec 2018, BWCS Staff)
And in case you might be in need of things to do during the holidays (!) We wanted to ......

Swiss Train Operator to Help Passengers Get Free Mobile Data Connections On-Board

(19 Oct 2018, BWCS Staff)
It seems that we jumped the gun last week in announcing that Swiss train operator SBB would be offering a trial of new, free, on-board WiFi services. In fact, the story is more complex than that. Due mainly to the excellent 4G coverage along the Swiss rail network – 97% due to rise to 99% in two years and to the number of trains that already have 3G and 4G mobile signal amplifiers fitted, the company has decided not to offer WiFi at all on its domestic routes. Instead passengers will have to rely on their own mobile data connections if they wish to surf the Internet whilst on ......

3.6Gbps Needed for Local Train Connectivity by 2025 – Says Ofcom

(17 Oct 2018, BWCS Staff)
UK telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has issued a report defining what it believes needs to be done in order to meet the government’s demands for much greater connectivity on the UK rail system. According to the report, within seven years, crowded commuter trains in and out of major British cities will require up to 3.6Gbps of mobile data connectivity to keep passengers happy. The dossier stems from a request made last December by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). In its letter the DCMS tasked the regulator with providing technical analysis of the likely future ......

Slovenia Settles on Train WiFi Supplier

(12 Oct 2018, BWCS Staff)
The state-owned railway company of Slovenia, Slovenske Železnice, says it has completed a tender for the supply of on-board WiFi services for some of its trains. SŽ Potniški Promet, the passenger service wing of the company, had asked for bids regarding the supply and installation of WiFi equipment on board 32 of its trains. Despite having only kicked off the process in August of this year, SŽ announced this week that the process is now complete. In the end, there was only bidder that fitted the criteria. A consortium of Telekom Slovenije, SRC and Verso Network Technologies has therefore won ......

Pakistan Railways to Offer Free On-board WiFi in 3 Months

(10 Oct 2018, BWCS Staff)
Pakistan Railways says it is poised to launch WiFi on its trains across the country within 100 days. The country’s Minister for Railways, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a long-time fan of on-board Internet connectivity claimed this week - “Initially, all passenger trains will have the facility of WiFi and tracking and after that these facilities will also be given in the freight trains.” According to the Ministry, around 60% of the work needed to make the WiFi on Board project a reality has already been carried out. The government has said that much of the software and related ......

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