Train operators and service providers from all over the world will meet in London this month to discuss progress in providing passengers and rail staff with on-board internet connections. The conference, which is being organised by technology consultancy BWCS, will focus on the means and the benefits of supplying broadband signals to trains.
Train Communications 2007 will examine the ways that new technologies are dramatically altering on-board communications systems. As Graham Wilde, CEO of BWCS, put it "Suddenly train companies are being offered new and dynamic ways to make their services more profitable, more secure, more efficient and even more passenger friendly."
"Almost every train company which is currently offering or trialing on-board train internet services for passengers and staff will be at this year's conference," reports Wilde. "We feel this is a great opportunity for all of us to learn from their successes and occasional failures, as well as to hear reports on progress from trials of new systems and services - straight from the horses' mouths."
Yet, despite great progress in this sector and in the face of overwhelming public demand for such services, only a handful of train companies have so far managed to supply customers with an internet connection. The latest example of this is the Heathrow Express, which now allows passengers to hook up to the internet as they travel between Paddington and London's major airport.
The response to this conference, which builds on a similar event last year organised by BWCS, has shown that there is tremendous interest in this topic amongst transport and companies and technology suppliers around the world.
One of the major themes of this year's conference will be the uses that operators can make of on-board train access to assist in security, safety and reducing staff costs. Delegates will discuss such issues as on-board CCTV being wirelessly relayed from train to trackside and wireless ticketing services.
The speakers will provide first hand accounts of the problems and pitfalls that can befall operators and explain how these can successfully be avoided and overcome. The proponents of all the main wireless access technologies will debate their strategies and solutions as well as discuss the future development of the industry.
Among those presenting at Train Communications Systems 2007 will be:
Virgin Trains, Capitol Corridors Joint Power Authority (US Train Operator), VIA Rail (Canada), Swiss Rail, NSB (Norwegian Rail), GNER, Nokia Siemens Networks, Lloyd's Register Rail, NS Trains, Icomera, Nomad Digital, T-Systems and many more.