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Assuring GSM-R communication for the Belgian railway

Case study • 02.12 2022

GSM-R communication


The railway sector and its infrastructure are constantly evolving. The GSM-R system, a digital system for communication designed especially for rail traffic, was introduced in Belgium in 2007. The entire Belgian rail network is equipped since 2010. Why? To make Belgian rail ultra-safe, by offering more reliable and faster communication. Therefore, GSM-R antennas must be efficiently powered.

Project description

The end customer is Infrabel, the Belgian railway infrastructure manager. The company’s mission is to develop an efficient and safe rail network for all the trains of tomorrow. In a few figures, the railway infrastructure in Belgium represents more than 3,600 kilometers of railway tracks. An antenna provides GSM-R coverage over a few kilometers. You can imagine that with such a wide network, the customer had significant needs in terms of backup power for its GSM-R antennas.

What is GSM-R communication ?

GSM-R stands for Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway. In other words, it is just like an ordinary GSM. GSM-R is a mobile means of communication, but only for the railways. GSM-R communication is used to have secure and reliable connections between train and railway regulation control centres, but also with the agents for maintenance, for the tracks,… These antennas allow support the ETCS (European Train Control System), an automatic safety system which consist in monitoring constantly the speed of a train and the braking system. For example, if the driver is not vigilant or if a train is travelling faster than the permitted speed, the ETCS will intervene and initiate emergency braking.

Customer requirements

In order to maintain the wireless communications standard and manage assets for IT devices, the customer asked us for a solution to feed DC load.

Solution proposed

CE+T Power provided DC power supply of the system thanks to the following combination:

  • Sierra 10: 2 modules with power of 1.2 kW.
  • Inview S slot: a very compact monitoring and easy to install and to interconnect
  • Batteries: the system is connected to a set of batteries that allow backup in case of failure
  • Power box: it is a distribution box linked to the DC output, which measures the current that goes from one direction to the other (charge and discharge current)

Why this choice?

The versatility of the Sierra 10 makes it the perfect product as it is a unique building block that acts both as inverter and rectifier. In this case, the Sierra is used as a pure rectifier. In other words, the AC output is not used, they only use DC output. The Sierra offers many advantages! To name just a few: it offers the highest conversion efficiency, it allows to secure 230VAC and 48VDC loads, and last but not least… It is very compact!

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