The Public Transport Authority is investing in Perth’s future rail transport needs with a major upgrade of its radio system.
The Radio Systems Replacement project involves the design and build of a new digital radio system, to replace the ageing analogue system. Unlike the analogue system, which only allows audio (i.e., voice) transmissions, the new digital system will also allow for the transmission of data, which is becoming increasingly important for train operations. It will also provide increased reliability and flexibility, allowing for a more efficient rail network and supporting plans for future expansion.
The new digital radio system will consist of fixed infrastructure (radio masts) at various locations across the rail network. All radio devices in trains, security vehicles and handheld radios for mobile staff will also be replaced with new digital-friendly equipment. Radio consoles used by control centre personnel will be replaced. Voice recording and maintenance diagnostic equipment will also be upgraded.
In July 2018 the PTA awarded a contract for the radio system’s design, build and maintenance to the HUGL Consortium – a joint venture between Huawei Australia and UGL. In March 2020 it was PTA determined that the project could not be delivered under the current arrangement, due to trade restrictions imposed on Huawei Australia by the U.S. Government.
The PTA has re-tendered for a new technology provider. A contract has been awarded to Nokia Solutions and Networks Australia for the design, construction and maintenance of the technology part of the digital radio system. Separate contracts will be awarded for the provision of the fixed civil and electrical infrastructure to support the technology. The new digital radio system is expected to enter service in phases during 2025.