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Rail Communications Upgrade 3G 850

Funding Program:Investment Road and Rail Program
Transport Mode:Rail
Expected Start/Finish:March 2007 - December 2014
Estimated Project Cost:$69,600,000
Australian Government Contribution:$69,600,000
Corridor:Sydney - Brisbane, Melbourne - Adelaide, Melbourne - Brisbane, Sydney - Adelaide, Perth - Adelaide

Project Description

The Australian Government provided $69.6 million to the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to upgrade the communications system on the interstate rail network, using 3G 850 mobile digital technology.

The implementation of the digital, 3G-based National Train Communications System converted the old multiple and disparate communications systems into a single, safer, digital backbone for communications across ARTC's network.


The old multiple communications systems reached their use-by dates and required replacement with new technology that was capable of supporting the next generation of train control technology.

Adoption of a single consistent communications system across the interstate rail network provides for:

  • the most cost-effective way of providing coverage across the large geographic area served by the interstate rail network;
  • a single communications system for the whole interstate rail network; and
  • elimination of inconsistencies where several state-based jurisdictions presently handle communications.

The 3G 850 mobile digital technology meets the functional requirements specified by the rail industry for the next generation of data centric train control technology. The ARTC liaised with RailCorp in the metropolitan area of Sydney and the private operators of Melbourne's metropolitan passenger train services to develop methods of interfacing their communications with the 3G 850 system on the urban networks.

By building new base and repeater stations to extend the 3G 850 network for rail, this project also extends mobile phone coverage available to the public.


The Australian Government provided $69.6 million to the ARTC towards this project.


The project commenced in March 2007 and was commissioned in December 2014.

Related Links

Information about the ARTC is available on the ARTC website

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Project details last updated: 28/01/2015