A pre-configured cellular base station system based on a successful off-site integration technique that has already sold in more than 7,500 units to Vodafone and T-Mobile has been adopted by Network Rail for its own new GSM-R radio communication system.
Some 700 of these ready-to-use Relocatable Equipment Buildings or REBs will be supplied under a £multi-million contract by Warrington-based Alan Dick UK Limited, part of the worldwide Alan Dick group.
The key advantage of the REB is the off-site preconfiguration. Totally complete and self-contained, it is pre-built and pre-tested in a controlled environment in Alan Dick UK's purpose-built facilities in Scunthorpe, ready to be craned into place and used immediately.
"The full meaning of this benefit is crystal clear to railway operators, who for safety reasons, can only install the base stations when rail lines are closed" explained Derek Hussey, Alan Dick's European sales manager. "The REB is delivered to site in a fully working state, ready to plug in and connect, minimising the amount and time of line closures are needed. Leading mobile operators have proved the value of this approach already, having deployed it in quantity over the past few years. Multiple on-site operations are eliminated, with costs and project risks reduced significantly."
A significant number of these base station buildings are required by Network Rail for the implementation of GSM-R. GSM-R is a safety communications system for the railway and will enable drivers and signallers across the country to be able to be talk directly with each other, wherever they are on the network. Track workers will also be able to use the new communication system which is essential to future safe operation of the railway.
The REB solution is a containerised metal cabin that contains a complete communications base station-radio and line transmission equipment, power supply and air conditioning-that needs only dropping into place and connecting to an antenna to be operational. Being relocatable, it can be moved readily to alternative sites if required and is rugged enough to withstand the harshest of environments. Alan Dick UK's REB solution is equally suitable for other communications applications, such as housing PABXs, repeater stations and signalling equipment. Full after-sales support is provided, including complete lifetime maintenance and staff training to Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) level.
Mr Hussey concluded, "At Network Rail's request we shall fit the radio and transmission equipment of their choice, because providing tailored solutions to meet customers' precise requirements has always been a cornerstone of the Alan Dick strategy. Maintaining close relationships with a number of companies enables us to provide bespoke solutions with the advantage of 'one stop shopping,' and our key differentiator of vendor independence means we can always package precisely the ideal solution for customers, unconstrained by the limitations of individual manufacturers' portfolios. This contract is a significant milestone in our entry into the wider transportation marketplace and puts us on track for further orders at home and abroad. Having worked with Network Rail, we are arousing active interest from other railways with this superb solution."
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[507 words - issued Feb-04]
Notes for editors
· Railways across Europe, including Britain's Network Rail, have adopted GSM-R as a single European standard for railway mobile communication. The communications platform is based on the global GSM system used for public cellular radio and is already being rolled out currently by a number of national railway administrations. It has the key advantage of providing a single international communication standard for train communication. Other benefits include improved interoperability between the various railway companies at international level plus reliable data transmission capabilities that will lead to increased safety for rail transport.
· Alan Dick UK Limited (formerly EXi Telecoms (UK) Limited) became part of the Alan Dick group, a provider of telecoms and broadcast infrastructure worldwide, in July 2003. In consequence the expanded organisation becomes additionally a single-source, end-to-end supplier for the cellular and allied network industries. Both companies have recently won the coveted Queens' Award for export sales.
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