Prasa inks deal with Huawei for digital railway network

2017-06-15 12:46 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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Johannesburg - South Africa's trains will soon operate with an improved railway communication system.

This comes after the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) concluded a deal that will see the installation of one of Africa's first digital railway communications networks.

Chinese electronics manufacturer Huawei and Prasa concluded the deal for the first rail operational Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) network on Wednesday, at the Africa Rail 2017 summit in Johannesburg. 

The GSM-R system is a digital train to ground communication system, used for operational voice and mission critical data communication between train and control centers. The system is considered as the standard in railway communication and is widely used across the world. 

“Prasa has been in the news lately but we are focused on delivering on our mandate, and that is to transport the people of South Africa,” Piet Sebola, Prasa executive said. “Technology is heavily embedded in our business and this partnership has been instrumental in enabling Prasa to achieve its railway operation improvement objectives in order to ensure that we deliver dignified rail services to all our people."

Marketing Director of the transport sector for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Norman Frisch explained that Prasa now in a position to operate and maintain its GSM-R network which operates in the GSM-R frequency band assigned to Prasa. 

“By making use of the GSM-R network, dispatchers can reach train drivers at a push of a button," he said, explaining that Push To Talk (PTT) enabling drivers to communicate seamlessly if a problem arose.

“The GSM-R network along the railway results in better communication and with so many railway lines in South Africa, Prasa can now allow for more trains to be put on railway lines." 

Huawei’s rail solutions cover 100 000km of railway lines around the world. It also serves over 50 urban rail lines and more than 60 partners in the railway industry. 

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