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GSM-R Brings High-Speed Rail Out of the Cold

03.04.2015 00:00:00


The Harbin–Dalian High-Speed Railway (Hada Railway) is the world’s first to operate at temperatures as low as -40ºF (-40ºC). It is 572 miles (921 km) long and has a design speed of 217.5 mph (350 km/h), though it typically operates at 186.4 mph (300 km/hr).

Huawei provided a Chinese Train Control System Level 3 (CTCS L3) control system — which is equivalent to European Train Control System Level 2 (ETCS L2) — for communications between trains and stations. The system is also Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R)-compliant.


The Hada railway requires a secure and reliable communications system. Harsh environments and high speeds posed several challenges during construction.

Stable in a frigid environment

In Northeast China, the winter is long and the temperature can fall below -40ºF (-40ºC). Train communication systems must remain stable and operate during lengthy freezing conditions.

Support for high-speed trains

Trains normally run at 186.4 mph (300 km/hr) and depart every 10 to 20 minutes. They use train-mounted control systems to communicate with stations, so reliability is essential. In addition, mobile switching is prone to failure at high train speeds

Wireless frequency planning

The Hada railway is restricted to a limited number of wireless railway frequencies, making planning and design difficult. Interference between local frequencies and railway frequencies can deteriorate network quality and interrupt communication.

End-to-End Redundancy

There are only backups for core devices on the wireless side and the main boards on core devices. There is no end-to-end redundancy. 


Hot Standby (HSB) disaster recovery

  • The core network provides a Mobile Switching Center (MSC) with real-time HSB based on MSC dual-homing and Mini-A-Flex technologies
  • The access network uses a Base Transceiver Station (BTS) ring network, carrier frequency redundant backup, and wireless redundancy coverage
  • Automatic frequency control (AFC) and fast switching algorithm technologies ensure continuity

Refined frequency plan and wireless coverage design

  • Modular Distributed Base Stations (DBSs) support remote, distributed installation
  • Multi-site cell technology and Remote Radio Units (RRUs) combine multiple cells from different physical addresses into one site with a single logical cell. This expands cell coverage and reduces cell handoffs to ensure hub capacity and improve network switchover performance
  • Drew on Huawei’s experience with GSM-R networks to simulate and analyze the site survey for a refined wireless network plan


Huawei’s GSM-R solution provides the Hada Railway a quality wireless network by laying a solid foundation for highly secure and efficient railway operation. In addition, Huawei’s technological teams deployed wireless redundancy and complex section coverage technologies for frequency planning.

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