China to deploy wireless network for high speed railway

HONG KONG – China’s high speed Shijiazhuang-to-Taiyuan railway (the Shi-Tai line) will include a wireless network for all passengers to use, according to Andrew, a wireless systems provider.

Andrew will supply its RADIAX radiating cables to support wireless services for passengers who can make calls, send text messages, and use other services as they travel through the railway’s tunnels, the vendor said in a statement.

The Shi-Tai line has a total length of almost 29 kilometers. In its initial stage of operation, the line will transport all passengers and some freight traffic between Shijiazhuang and Taiyuan.

Expected to open in 2009 is the high speed railway line, which will only support passenger traffic with its double-track, completely enclosed design. Train speeds are expected to reach up to 250 kilometers per hour. Upon completion of the railway, travel time to Shijiazhuang from Taiyuan will be reduced to about one hour from the more than five hours it currently takes. The Shi-Tai line will connect with the Beijing-Shijiazhuang high speed line, allowing passengers to reach Beijing from Taiyuan in little more than two hours.

Andrew’s system will also support a GSM-R (GSM for railways) network to enable interoperable communications among railway employees and emergency personnel, the vendor said. It added that its RADIAX cables are manufactured entirely in the company’s plant in Suzhou.

“Enabling wireless signal transmissions in high speed railway tunnels is a great challenge because of the enclosed environment and rapidly changing signal levels,” Ben Cardwell, the company’s vice-president for Asia-Pacific sales and marketing. “However, our experiences in the field of high-speed railway network signal coverage all over the world. Our radiating cables have long been deployed in rail transportation and other mobile communication systems.”

Andrew provided wireless coverage systems for China’s railways before, most recently in the Beijing-to-Tianjin high speed railway and six lines of the Beijing Metro, both in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics.