A digital radio communications system developed by experts in Lancashire is helping to revolutionise the tram network in the West Midlands.
The new radio system being designed and deployed by Leyland-based TES Communication Solutions forms part of the West Midlands Metro £1.3billion upgrade and will enhance voice and data capability for the current and future network.
Wesley Shilton, Director of TES, said: “This is a huge upgrade on the system and means we can provide added coverage geographically as the network expands to meet its needs across the West Midlands. In the event of a major incident, this dedicated system can operate independently and allow public phone and radio networks to be used in their own right.
“We worked closely with the team at West Midlands Combined Authority to design and develop a radio network which we know is proven but tailored for their specific needs. This kind of system is fit-for-purpose now and future proof for large regional operations such as the West Midlands Metro.”
TES Communication Solutions’ radio systems have been installed in transport and infrastructure systems around the world where there is a need for dedicated communications including Taiwan, Guatemala, Manchester Metrolink, Blackpool Transport, UBS Bank and Astra Zeneca.
Over the coming years the network across the West Midlands will triple in size with further additional trams, upgrades to depot-maintenance facilities and Operations Control Centre of the network for Transport For West Midlands, part of West Midlands Combined Authority.
Included in the upgrade and expansion programme are a number of control, communications and passenger information systems that support and maintain a seamless operation of the tramway. They provided West Midlands Metro with the ability to monitor tram movements and passengers using the network and provided the mechanism to react to any incidents with accuracy and efficiency.
Mike Pelling of WMCA said: “We’re using proven digital technology and adapting it for our purposes around our model of operations. We need to make sure that the users of our trams can feel safe and that our drivers and operators know they have the very best technology to help them in their work.”
The development is a major improvement from the current VHF system that can only operate with voice calls. All existing trams are being upgraded to the new radio system with the switch-over to the new network over the coming months. The Combined Authority has also ordered a further 21 trams to facilitate the expansion.