Service hits the track
Train travellers are often left frustrated by their mobile phones dropping in and out of service, but that is set to change.
Mobile blackspots along the Seymour-Melbourne train line will be a thing of the past, with significant improvements to mobile coverage and connectivity for commuters to come along the route, which sees more than 1.62 million passenger trips a year.
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone will work together on the project in a major win for commuters, meaning that customers on all three networks will see improved mobile coverage, rather than just one carrier’s customer base.
Seymour passengers will begin to experience improved mobile coverage towards the end of the year, particularly between Craigieburn and Wallan and near Kilmore, with up to five new mobile towers to be built in 2017 and 2018.
Work has already begun to pilot the installation of mobile reception repeaters in VLocity trains, designed to boost in-train coverage from less than 50 per cent to almost full network coverage.
If successful, the repeaters will be rolled out on the entire VLocity fleet in 2018.
In-train technology is used in more than 30 rail networks across Europe including Germany, Italy and Switzerland to boost the mobile signal from towers inside train carriages.
‘‘I know how frustrating it is when you can’t get signal from the train and you have work or homework to do, want to send a message to a loved one or check the footy score. That’s why we’re getting this fixed,’’ Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford said.
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the connectivity project would allow regional commuters to use their travel time more effectively and access the same services that were afforded to metropolitan commuters.