One of Europe’s telecommunications solutions providers to the rail sector, AlanDick Communications (ADC), has completed, on time and to budget, its project to design, install and commission the GSM-R leaky feeder system within the Merseyrail tunnel structure as part of Network Rail’s nationwide GSM-R deployment.

The contract, for the GRIP five to eight construction phases, was awarded following the successful completion of the GRIP four design element of the programme.

GSM-R is an international standard, primarily for wireless communications, used for railway applications. The new system for Merseyrail will allow for a seamless link-up of communications between tunnel and over-ground GSM-R coverage. It has also been designed to integrate with emergency services’ UHF applications in the future.

The project, which was completed within a six month timeframe, saw the installation of almost 15km of wireless infrastructure, once all design; commissioning and supply chain preparation work had been undertaken by ADC.

With such a strict completion deadline and challenging environment, it was crucial that the safe system of work, supply chain and logistics management of the operation were planned meticulously, prior to the commencement of works. All planning was undertaken from ADC’s Scunthorpe head office, with equipment delivered to site on a ‘just in time’ basis. With much of the cable sourced internationally and normally on a three month lead time, ADC’s expertise and collaborative partnerships with component suppliers meant that the project could be completed within the timeframe set.

A challenging working environment saw the installation team having to contend with varying tunnel designs, including Victorian brick twin bore systems and smaller, single bore versions from the seventies, with a sprayed concrete and concrete ring construction. Working with a handful of selected sub-contractors, all work had to be carried out in a limited 4 hour night time possession, in order to minimise disruption to the network.

Ben Quinn, senior programme manager for GSM-R at Network Rail, noted: “This was the first major project within the GSM-R Programme where we took the decision to lead with an experienced telecommunications solutions company. ADC performed a crucial role in the completion of the upgrade to the Merseyrail telecommunications infrastructure, the final completion area for the nationwide GSM-R roll out. We were extremely pleased with the project management and total solution capabilities of ADC, all delivered with no incidents within the parameters of Network Rail’s quality and health & safety requirements.”

Jason Pearce, managing director of Scunthorpe-based AlanDick Communications, noted: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Network Rail on such this project. At ADC, we are passionate about the rail sector and the growing importance of telecommunications within it. The Merseyrail project is another example of how our professional project management and design, experience with large telecommunications infrastructure roll out, are used to effect to deliver a quality outcome on time and on budget for our customers.”