Whilst it may seem like Network Rail is only interested in staying still, quite literally at the moment due to constant strike action, there’s actually some big moves coming up ahead.
Connectivity and speed of communication hasn’t exactly been their strong suit in recent years, or in fact historically a strength, however with ongoing talks with Neos, there does seem like vast upgrades to their communication systems coming up.
Network Rail’s goal is to lay up to 16,000km of high-capacity fibre next to the railway in order to help run the logistics such as train signals, trackside sensors, CCTV, as well as hook up high-speed broadband for railway, offices and also the trains themselves.
This of course is early days in the talks, and as with anything to do with the rail industry, there’s no telling how long it might take, and of course how many delays there’ll be along the way.
This should hopefully lead to a greater ability to see the big picture in real time with a far more reliable network, supported by a vastly speedier fibre network running alongside it.
There are also talks of an accompanying network of 4G and 5G towers to ensure comprehensive cover by both fixed and mobile coverage.
This is a great sign of continued confidence in an industry often marginalised due to upgrades often being far lengthier and over promised… the Elephant and Castle in the room being HS2.
However what this does mean, is a serious opportunity for civils teams across the entire network.
This will also deliver a part of that supposed benefit of taking the train when commuting. As finally the promise of working your commute will be made fully viable as you’ll be able to rely on a significant level of connectivity wherever your train might be thundering across the landscape, rural or otherwise.
So whilst in some areas the rail network might be facing many issues, when it comes to telecoms opportunities, it seems the light at the end of the tunnel, does indeed come from the blinking of a reliable router.