Introduction of National Train Communication System (NTCS)

 
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Significant infrastructure evolution or revolution...

"The National Train Communications System (NTCS) ICE units has become the primary communications device on the ARTC Network. The NTCS ICE units will replace the CountryNet Radio system as the primary communications device.
The NTCS transition is scheduled to be completed by June 2013, after this time it will be mandatory for all locomotives (rail traffic) to have an ICE unit installed to operate on the ARTC Network. All Network Control communication to locomotives (rail traffic) will be via the Voice Communications System (VCS) Train Radio Interface."

http://extranet.artc.com.au/docman/DocManFiles/DocTypes/SAFE/Files/2-1714.PDF?786810787

For the many faults of ARTC at least it provides a focus point for a national rail transport agenda. Henry Parkes might even crack a slight smile.




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  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
From JHR's site.

"Introduction of National Train Communication System (NTCS) Alteration to Communication

Device for all Network communications

The National Train Communications System (NTCS) ICE units has become the primary communications device on the John Holland Rail Country Regional Network (JHR CRN). The NTCS ICE units will replace the CountryNet Radio system as the primary communications device.

The NTCS transition is scheduled to be completed by June 2013, after this time it will be mandatory for all locomotives (rail traffic) to have an ICE unit installed to operate on the JHR CRN Network. All Network Control communication to locomotives (rail traffic) will be via the Voice Communications System (VCS) Train Radio Interface."

http://www.johnhollandrail.com.au/Documents.asp?ID=25&Action=Download&ResourceID=1163


  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
So if a train wants to go from Perth to Sydney, how many radios does it need in the loco
to comply with every States communication requirements?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
So if a train wants to go from Perth to Sydney, how many radios does it need in the loco
to comply with every States communication requirements?
"MD"


The ARTC link at the beginning of this fred is worth a read.

You should end up only needing one as the radio software manages the interfaces (but then again this is Australia)
  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
How will this affect radio scanners?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Both ARTC and JHR are using ICE on the respective networks... what's the situation with Railcorp?
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
Both ARTC and JHR are using ICE on the respective networks... what's the situation with Railcorp?
cootanee
It's being fitted to the Xplorer/Endeavour/Hunter/XP units, and the appropriate training and procedures (TOM) have been drawn up. I'm not sure if it's been implemented yet.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
So if a train wants to go from Perth to Sydney, how many radios does it need in the loco
to comply with every States communication requirements?
MD
Basically, the ICE unit is a big telephone unit. When I leave Parkes and press control, it automatically puts me through to JHR. Leaving Goobang, it automatically goes to ARTC TOCO. Leaving Broken Hill, it automatically goes to North Control etc etc.

Now, if you cant for some reason get the right controller using the control button, it has a directory of all the controllers. UHF channels are grouped together as well.

The NR aware system is a primitive similar system.

So ICE is your one stop shop for communications.

For reference as well, ICE stands for In Cab Equipment and is the name given to the radio unit.
  cuthbert Train Controller

For reference as well, ICE stands for In Cab Equipment and is the name given to the radio unit.
seb2351

Don't forget the "HMI" - Human Machine Interface.

Unfortunately, "HMI" is WRONG, as it should be "HDI" - Human Device Interface, as apart from surface mounted buttons and cooling fans - there is no machine involved/connected with/to the ICE communication system in the loco cab!
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
It's being fitted to the Xplorer/Endeavour/Hunter/XP units, and the appropriate training and procedures (TOM) have been drawn up. I'm not sure if it's been implemented yet.
Raichase

As these run on ARTC/JHR lines that would be expected.

I was wondering if Railcorp's network will also use the NTCS (or is it only national until you reach ARTC or JHR boundaries) ?
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
Does ICE work between Kalgoorlie and Perth, and between Tarcoola and Darwin?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
"The NTCS transition is scheduled to be completed by 30th June 2014, after this time it will be mandatory for all locomotives (rail traffic) to have an ICE unit installed to operate on the ARTC Network. All Network Control communication to locomotives (rail traffic) will be via the Voice Communications System (VCS) Train Radio Interface. "


http://extranet.artc.com.au/docman/DocManFiles/DocTypes/SAFE/Files/2-1929.PDF?378476065
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
ICE is a POS , by comparison AWARE is a much easier interface to use - when it works . Moronic small screen and non backlit keys make ICE a PAIN .
It must have taken a highly paid cork head to group the UHF channels in NO logical or geographic order .
And no , you can't always press the control button and get JH or ARTC when you want them . You can sit a Goobang East for hours trying to get through at times .
Stupid left headed antics to get from GBG towards Parkes station and points east .
If ATMS can destroy NSW TOW between Orange East fork Stock and Broken Hill , and the above mentioned lunacy , bring it on . I mean really , heading north through Harden trying to fulfill a TO that ended at Stock ?
  Typhon Assistant Commissioner

Location: I'm that freight train tearing through the sky in the clouds.
You can flick that switch on the top left corner and have your choice of a blue or red light to illuminate the interface. I like the red myself.

I think pressing F5 sorts the channels geographically and you can sort them other ways as well. There are short cuts, just play around with it. Set up the UHF channels before you depart.

Yeah, it was clearly designed in true uni style where they waited until the last day before cobbling something together and handing it up to the project manager, but it isn't gonna change and we're just gonna have to get used to it. Take a mobile phone Razz.

In terms of getting through to Control and talking to someone ICE smeg all over the AWARE, which was patchy at best. You might not be talking to the right guy but at least you can hear him!
  Allrail Beginner

After using it from Broken Hill down, the call quality is great.  Not scratchy like the shocking UHF!!

Wish the keys were backlit though, itsa pain to turn on the light everytime you use it.  I don't mind the screen thgough.  I want to know if we can hack it to play movies Laughing
  GregW67 Junior Train Controller

Location: Sydney Australia
My apologies in advance if this seems a naive question...

Does ICE operate like an open-channel two-way radio on the Next G network, or does it only support private conversations between controller and driver?  In other words, does it operate like a conventional two-way radio, or as a mobile phone?  I know it includes support for conventional UHF channels, so I am just asking how it works while on Next G.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
My apologies in advance if this seems a naive question...

Does ICE operate like an open-channel two-way radio on the Next G network, or does it only support private conversations between controller and driver?  In other words, does it operate like a conventional two-way radio, or as a mobile phone?  I know it includes support for conventional UHF channels, so I am just asking how it works while on Next G.
GregW67

I've previously read that the ICE unit includes UHF for local comms - i.e. it's transmitting and receiving using those UHF frequencies not Next-G.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
I'll wait for the MKII and see what that brings .
  Wiseone Locomotive Fireman

Location: Darwin. NT
Does ICE work between Kalgoorlie and Perth, and between Tarcoola and Darwin?
MD
The radio component part of the ICE system works between Tarcoola and Darwin, but is not used. Tarcoola to Darwin safeworking is performed via sat phone or 3G in a few sparse locations. The sat phone hooked up to the ICE unit is used. The majority of radio communication is still through the Motorola radio units on the locos. ICE does not have remote points control on this line where as the Motorola units do. Most train crew working Tarcoola to Darwin do not have anything nice to say about ICE and avoid it where ever possible. ICE does not work well in Sat Phone mode.
  MD Chief Commissioner

Location: Canbera
What frequencies does the ICE radio system use.
How does the ICE radio system fit in with this.
http://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-12942/
  buddha Beginner

What frequencies does the ICE radio system use.
How does the ICE radio system fit in with this.
http://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-12942/
MD
ICE uses standard Telstra NextG or Iridium (satellite) for all voice calls.  It also integrates a single frequency, multi-Channel UHF radio.  So driver-controller calls are almost all made a a telephone call via NextG or Iridiuim, with UHF used for local comms such as yard shunting, loading etc/

ICE also has a USB port - you can play your songs via the ICE.  The soings will cut-out if a call is received.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
ICE uses standard Telstra NextG or Iridium (satellite) for all voice calls.  It also integrates a single frequency, multi-Channel UHF radio.  So driver-controller calls are almost all made a a telephone call via NextG or Iridiuim, with UHF used for local comms such as yard shunting, loading etc/

ICE also has a USB port - you can play your songs via the ICE.  The soings will cut-out if a call is received.
buddha

It's no big deal really...

Your typical mobile phone is transmitting and receiving on the various frequencies for Next-G, Bluetooth, WiFi and Personal Hotspot.
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
"The NTCS transition is scheduled to be completed by 30th June 2014, after this time it will be mandatory for all locomotives (rail traffic) to have an ICE unit installed to operate on the ARTC Network. All Network Control communication to locomotives (rail traffic) will be via the Voice Communications System (VCS) Train Radio Interface. "


http://extranet.artc.com.au/docman/DocManFiles/DocTypes/SAFE/Files/2-1929.PDF?378476065
cootanee

Mandatory , hmm that sounds very monopoly with ICE comms . I wonder what happens if an operator comes up with a better system and says nope bash ICE systems up yer smeg ?
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting for the sky to fall, the seas to rise... and seeing a train on the SSFL!
Mandatory , hmm that sounds very monopoly with ICE comms . I wonder what happens if an operator comes up with a better system and says nope bash ICE systems up yer smeg ?
BDA

Yep ARTC's tracks, ARTC's rules = monopoly. Just like it's always been going back to state guvmnt and CR days.

Consider also the NTCS will underpin a future ATMS if it's deployed.

If it's just about better In Cab Equipment its' open system so you can develop your own unit which ARTC would need to certify.

If an operator comes up with a 'better' SYSTEM guess they can talk amongst themselves. Laughing
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Well ICE only ever has to been seen as a safety threat once then the aluminium house of cards falls in .
ARTC are not untouchable and are not the safety regulators . They don't rule supreme and don't own ANY rail infrastructure at least on the east coast , the plug can be pulled on them very easily if necessary . JH in NSW s living proof that ARTC is a long way from perfect and have been sent packing because of it . Don't think it can't happen again .

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