SA lucrative rail digital transformation launched

June 14, 2017 6:02 pm7 comments
Piet Sebola, PRASA Group Executive of Strategic Asset Development.IMAGE -GIFT NDOLWANE

Piet Sebola, PRASA Group Executive of Strategic Asset Development.IMAGE -GIFT NDOLWANE

JOHANNESBURG – HUAWEI and the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) have jointly announced the first rail operational Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) network as part of the agency’s multimillion-dollar digital transformation drive.
PRASA has allocated R600 million (US$7,56 million) to the project.
Huawei and PRASA announced the GSM-R project in Johannesburg on Wednesday at the Africa Rail 2017, the largest and longest-running rail event in Africa.
“We are proud to share this historic milestone with Huawei-Alcom Consortium (HAC),” said Piet Sebola, PRASA Group Executive of Strategic Asset Development.
“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,” Sebola added.
The GSM-R system is a digital train to ground communication system following the international wireless GSM standard and EIRENE specifications for railway communication and applications.
The system put into operation is a sub-system of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and is used for operational voice and mission critical data communication between train and control centres. GSM-R is considered as the standard in railway communication and is widely used across the world.
In 2013, HACwas awarded the contract to supply PRASA with the latest digital wireless communication system for their commuter railways. Since then, PRASA and Huawei have worked in close partnership to deploy the network in South Africa.
It spans over 800km and 152 stations across the country.
Chairman of the eLTE Industry Alliance and Marketing Director of the Transport Sector for Huawei Enterprise Business Group, Norman Frisch, said, “Huawei’s GSM-R system will help not only the South African railway network enter the cutting-edge digital age, but will also play a pivotal role in the planning and building future railway networks across South Africa and its neighboring countries.”
Huawei’s rail solutions cover 100 000km of railway around the world and serve over 50 urban rail lines and more than 60 partners in the railway industry.
The announcement in South Africa came a week after Huawei announced a similar exercise in Kenya.
The railway operational communications network it built for the Mombasa-Nairobi rail project has been put into commercial use.


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