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Railway Communications

This page provides information on the background for railway communications, activities in CEPT and the main CEPT deliverables for railway communications, and some information about national best practices to solve critical spectrum coexistence issues.

The work in the ECC in recent years focussed on the compatibility issues between GSM-R and MFCN. WG FM opened in February 2017 the new WG FM Project Team 56 -  Radio Spectrum for Railway applications - after arrival of the ETSI system reference document TR 103 333 on future GSM-R network evolution.

This page contains information on:

 

1 Main ECC deliverables related to railway communications

  • ECC Report 096: Compatibility between UMTS 900/1800 and systems operating in adjacent bands
  • ECC Report 146: Compatibility between GSM MCBTS and other services (TRR, RSBN/PRMG, HC-SDMA, GSM-R, DME, MIDS, DECT) operating in the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency bands
  • ECC Report 162: Practical mechanism to improve the compatibility between GSM-R and public mobile networks and guidance on practical coordination
  • ECC Report 229: Guidance for improving coexistence between GSM-R and MFCN in the 900 MHz band
  • ECC/REC/(05)08: Frequency planning and coordination of GSM 900, GSM 1800, E-GSM and GSM-R systems (currently under revision)          
  • ECC/DEC/(02)05: ECC Decision of 8 March 2013 on the designation and availability of frequency bands for railway purposes in the 876-880 MHz and 921-925 MHz bands
  • ECC/DEC/(02)09: Free circulation and use of GSM-R mobile terminals 876-880/921-925 MHz for railway purposes
  • ECC/DEC/(02)10: Exemption from individual licensing of GSM-R mobile terminals 876-880/921-925 MHz for railway purposes
  • ECC/DEC/(04)06: ECC Decision of 19 March 2004 on the availability of frequency bands for the introduction of Wide Band Digital Land Mobile PMR/PAMR in the 400 MHz and 800/900 MHz bands
  • Other railway radio applications (Eurobalise, Euroloop, Level Crossing Radars) are under SRD regulation in ERC Recommendation 70-03 Annex 4. This annex covers frequency bands and regulatory as well as informative parameters recommended for applications specifically intended for use on railways.

 

2 Background and implementation

ECC/DEC/(02)05 designates frequency bands for railway purposes in the 876-880 MHz and 921-925 MHz bands,  this is used by GSM-R in Europe.

According to ECC/DEC(02)05 and ECC/DEC/(04)06, the bands 873-876 MHz UL / 918-921 MHz DL can be made available on national level for an extension of GSM-R. This is the ER-GSM band. With these amended Decisions, CEPT/ECC responded to the request as submitted by ETSI with the System Reference Document ETSI TR 102 627 in 2007. The ER-GSM band has been covered by the relevant 3GPP standards since Release 12 (3GPP TS 45.005 in September 2013). Currently the revisions of the ETSI European Harmonised Standards are performed to reflect the latest changes in the regulatory domain in Europe (RE Directive). This includes:

ETSI EN 301 502 V12.5.1, relevant for GSM and GSM-R base station requirements, was published in July 2016. This version also includes the conditions for the GSM-R extension band (ER-GSM). The latest draft version of amended ETSI EN 301 511, relevant for GSM and GSM-R user equipment, also includes the conditions for the GSM-R extension band (ER-GSM).

In addition, the Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/919 of 27 May 2016 ”on the technical specification for interoperability relating to the ‘control-command and signalling’ subsystems of the rail system in the European Union” shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all EU Member States. This Commission Regulation refers to the EIRENE (European Integrated Railway Radio Enhanced Network) specifications, i.e. on mandatory specifications. The EIRENE SRS v16.0.0 (System Requirements Specification) and FRS v8.0.0 (System Requirements Specification) both define requirements for the network equipment and the user equipment, with amendments published in early 2016 for both specifications.

Implementation information has been collected by means of two questionnaires to CEPT administrations in 2013 and 2016.

                                         Country situation in Europe

Situation

Country

GSM-R network implemented and in operation, or in test/ trial phase

Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Belarus, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia), Poland

GSM-R implemented in the national frequency plan but no network implementation yet

Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia

According to information in 03/2013, GSM-R (voice and data bearer) was deployed and covers around 68 000 km of tracks in Europe and this approximate figure is confirmed by the answers received in response to a CEPT questionnaire. In Europe, where the total railway network taken into account is about 221 000 km, GSM-R coverage was planned for about 150 000 km according to ETSI TR 102 627, published in 11/2008, also explaining that in September 2007 the network comprised 60 507 km equipped with GSM-R infrastructure, of which 40 918 were in operation by that date.

Recent detailed European implementation information was agreed to be sent in response to a questionnaire from the ITU BR, see CEPT contribution - October 2016.


3 ECC Report 229 (Coexistence between GSM-R and MFCN)


The work in the ECC in recent years focussed on the compatibility issues between GSM-R and MFCN. This resulted to ECC Report 229 to give guidance to administrations as well as GSM-R and MFCN licensees at 900 MHz on how a better framework for interference-free usage could be reached. It defines options for a generic and open framework for the discussions between GSM-R and MFCN licensees as well as CEPT administrations.

Results of various measurement campaigns performed in 2013 and 2014 have been used to understand the behaviour of GSM-R cab radios and EDORs in the presence of GSM, UMTS and LTE signals in the adjacent spectrum above 925 MHz. This was complemented by information collected via questionnaires to CEPT administrations on interference into GSM-R caused by MFCN in 2013 and about national coordination between GSM-R and MFCN in 2016.

Note that improved GSM-R receivers have been specified in ETSI, as part of the process towards improved coexistence, which can be either an improved radio module or an existing one combined with an external filter installed between the train rooftop antenna and the antenna connector of the radio equipment. In both cases such an improved GSM-R receiver shall provide at least the performance specified in ETSI TS 102 933-1 v1.3.1.

National information about national best practices to solve critical spectrum coexistence issues between GSM-R and MFCN:

       1. from France (July 2016) Link

Link


4 Current activities in the ECC related to railway communications

WG FM in Jan./Feb. 2017 opened the new WG FM Project Team 56 -  Radio Spectrum for Railway applications - after arrival of the ETSI system reference document TR 103 333 on future GSM-R network evolution.

WG FM is also aware of the early considerations in the coexistence and migration studies commissioned by the European Union Agency for Railways, and the project launched by the International Railway Union (UIC) – an ECC LoU partner - to define the successor system to GSM-R.

In this context, several other considerations may play a role:

  • Synergies with other ‘mission-critical’ networks (e.g. BB-PPDR, see ECC Report 218 and ECC Decision (16)02 and related flexible harmonisation concept; or high-voltage smart grids under PMR regulation in the 400 MHz range, a subject currently under discussions in WG FM PT FM54. For PMR/PAMR, there are LTE-related coexistence studies currently on-going for the 400 MHz freuquency ranges 410-430 MHz and 450-470 MHz in WGSE/ PT SE7). The ETSI SRdoc TR 102 628 already identified a (theoretical) possibility for synergies in its chapter B.4.3; 
  • ERC Recommendation 70-03 and the draft Addendum to CEPT Report 59 (SRD and RFID usage in 870-876 MHz and 915-921 MHz, section 2.6.3 recognising early GSM-R follow-on considerations) as well as primary use to be protected (military and ER-GSM); 
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ECC/DEC/(08)01) and Urban Rail systems – an on-going process in WG FM (see minutes of the WGFM#86 meeting in October 2016);
  • Another activity within the ECC is in ECC CPG PT D, the process towards Agenda Item 1.11 at WRC-19: 'to take necessary actions, as appropriate, to facilitate global or regional harmonised frequency bands to support railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside within existing mobile service allocations, in accordance with Resolution 236 (WRC‑15)'. Resolution 236 (WRC-15)“Railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside” resolves to invite the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference based on the results of ITU‑R studies, to take necessary actions, as appropriate, to facilitate global or regional harmonised frequency bands, to the extent possible, for the implementation of railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside, within existing mobile-service allocations and invites ITU-R; to study the spectrum needs, technical and operational characteristics and implementation of railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside. Project Team FM56 may support the activities towards Agenda Item 1.11 at WRC-19 in CPG PT D by contributing the results of the work steps within FM56 to PT D. o


5 Additional information

The international Railway Union (UIC) is an LoU partner of the ECC. The UIC has released a number of reports in relation to interference into GSM-R in the recent years:

 

The UIC website for GSM-R: Link

Study from iDate and WIK in 2014 on the evolution of GSM-R for the European Union Agency for Railways.

The UIC website for FRMCS: Link

Updated: 02 June 2017, 14:07