Protected: Okehampton GSM-R Communications Network

The Dartmoor Line opened on 20 November 2021 and is the first line to be reinstated under the Department for Transport’s 'Restoring your Railway' initiative. With over 10,000 passengers using the service within the first two weeks of the opening, we are proud to be a part of this historic project.

Client Brief

The Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) Interference (Infill) Project has been undertaken to identify and resolve issues with GSM-R coverage of the Network Rail's National Radio Network. The coverage issues arose due to various reasons, including interference from other Mobile Network Operators (MNO), new residential and commercial property developments and other interferences.

The interferences caused a reduction in the GSM-R Signal between the relevant Base Stations and the Train borne equipment in certain areas to below acceptable levels. Network Rail decided to install new GSM-R Repeater, new Base Station Transceiver (BTS) or Base Transceiver Station Railways(BTS-R) sites to overcome the coverage issues in specific areas, determined by their Radio Design Group. The new sites will be incorporated into the overall FTN/GSM-R Network.

This specific project proposed acquiring and upgrading the privately-owned rail infrastructure between Okehampton and Coleford Junction and creating an accessible railway by introducing an initial two-hourly passenger service, followed by an hourly service between Okehampton and Exeter St Davids, where connections to the rest of the country are available.

The critical challenge was to undertake the construction in shortened timescales ready within a six-month project timeframe.

Project Overview

The key project goals were to provide Global System for Mobile communications Railway (GSM-R) coverage along the Branch line. The works included designing, installing, and testing five new GSM-R sites with associated masts and base stations; alongside Distribution Network Operator (DNO)cubicle installations and GSMR phones at key user worked crossing locations.

Linbrooke installed 22-meter high mass concrete / piled bases enabling the transformation of these sites. Each site required the provision of new DNO supplies for power and an associated trackside cabinet containing the radio base station equipment and power supply installation. Additionally, new DNOs were required at several user worked crossing sites to support new signalling systems installed. Linbrooke installed solar-powered GSMR-R telephones calling into the Crediton Signal box at five of these crossings.

Linbrooke installed a new 432 SpiderWeb Ribbon DISAF fibre cable from West of Yeoford Fixed Telecommunications Network Access Node to the new Okehampton Station FTN Fibre cabinet. This new fibre cable was jointed and tested end to end with new spur cables installed from the relevant fibre optic joint to each of the new GSM-R tower base stations.


Turnkey Rail Solution

The Dartmoor Railway is a railway line approximately 15.5 miles long in Devon connecting Okehampton station to Network Rail managed infrastructure at a location known as Coleford Junction. Aggregate Industries Ltd previously owned the railway line. The operator up to the start of the project was the Dartmoor Railway Community Interest Company seeing only three trains passing along its length between 2019 and 2020.

Great Western Railway (GWR) previously operated a weekly summer passenger service between Okehampton and Exeter. At the instigation of the project, Network Rail recognised the community's desire to increase this service's frequency for work, study and leisure travel.

This project demonstrates our capability to deliver a complete multidisciplinary turnkey solution for our client. This approach took place within limited timescales and within an environment where multiple contractors were working together to renew and open a stretch of railway closed since 1972.


GSM-R Network
6 Months

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