Light Rail Radio Upgrade
ADComms’ Nexus Rail project on track for 2015

Date: December 2014

Following its contract award, ADComms (ADComms) is well on track to deliver the multi-million pound radio telecoms upgrade project on the Tyne and Wear’s Metro system, which is owned and managed by Nexus.

ADComms, principal contractor for all site and on-train works, is working with Austrian firm Kapsch-CarrierCom to deliver an upgrade of the Metro system’s existing radio network to a TETRA (Trans-European Trunked Radio) system supporting train services across the region. The new system will deliver higher levels of efficiency and increased reliability for passengers by creating a more secure and resilient communications system for the line across the 48.5-mile metro network.

Nexus is modernising the Tyne and Wear Metro through the £389m Metro: all change modernisation programme. The government-funded scheme includes investment in new infrastructure, modernised trains and station refurbishment work.

Following an extensive planning and design process, ADComms will integrate and commission a combination of leaky feeder technology across three tunnels – Forth Bank, Greensfield and St James - as well as repeater technology through six additional tunnels. The new radio network will ensure consistent communication is achieved underground, with additional repeater sites built in nine overground locations as part of the upgrade.

All overground locations across the network will receive an upgrade to ensure all calls made can be routed across a robust wireless infrastructure.

The project will now also deliver an added bonus for local fire and rescue services in integrating a radio signal into tunnels across the network in order to provide underground radio coverage. This key move will deliver critical radio communications to staff, improving response times for the emergency services as they carry out their life-saving work across the area.

Launched in July 2014, the upgrade will be complete by December 2015. This key infrastructural project will breathe new life into the communications network in replacing an outdated, 22-year old system.

ADComms business development director, Mark Weller, said:

“The scope of our works is extensive, incorporating both an upgrade of underground and overground infrastructure, as well as the installation of the new radio network within the rolling stock. This is a fantastic project for ADComms, demonstrating the full scope of our business engineering capability, from radio design to trackside and rolling stock installation, right through to system commissioning and migration.”

Lead ADComms project manager, Lee Watson, expanded:

“Like all complex projects that have safety, quality and time factors, exasperated by access to challenging locations, it’s essential to ensure effective planning and regular stakeholder communication to maintain a programme of works which runs smoothly and on time. We’re extremely pleased with progress we’ve achieved so far. Our design works are on target, and we’ve almost completed our survey of the locations requiring work on site. As we approach the end of the year, 70% of our first major installation phase, which involves lining the first four radiating cable in the Greensfield Tunnel (Gateshead) is almost complete.”

The collaboration between Kapsch, ADComms and other technology partners beat many industry leaders to the successful contract award. The project win is testament to the company’s industry-leading radio expertise and extensive experience with the Mersey Tunnel GSM-R upgrade, Watson adds.

“Having recently completed our GSM-R leaky feeder upgrade for Merseyrail’s Merseyrail’s tunnel structure as part of Network Rail’s nationwide GSM-R deployment, we had an excellent real-time case study with which to highlight our experience and capabilities. Additionally, we were able to show the ease of network upgrade from old to new system with a seamless migration plan.”

“We’re delighted to be working for Kapsch, on this prestigious project, a long-term partner of ours. ADComms’ experience in delivering cutting-edge, radio-based technology to the rail sector is supported by the depth of our quality and technical engineering excellence,”
concluded ADComms’ managing director Jason Pearce.

To find out more about ADComms’ Merseyrail tunnel structure leaky feeder upgrade, please click here.

For more information, please contact St John White or Natalia Gameson at Prova on 01926 776900.