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Mission Critical Communications for Rail


Connecting your critical network infrastructure

Mission critical communications are fundamental to the operation of a railway system. Communications systems have stringent requirements for reliability, safety, interoperability with legacy technology, and long-life cycle support. These prerequisites ensure that you can safely run day-to-day operations and successfully manage hundreds of miles of railway track, unmanned territories, and intricate transportation timetables.

From field to back office, modernize your communications infrastructure with packet-based technology that supports a variety of operational technology (OT) applications.

See our infographic here!

Keep Trains Running


Mission critical communications connect the dots

Without reliable communications, operations come to a halt. Our mission critical communications system, XMC20, sits at the heart of your railway system and connects all common operational applications.

Hitachi Energy's XMC20 supports typical railway applications such as:

Signaling interlocking

This system prevents conflicting train movements through an arrangement of tracks such as crossings or junctions. It is a safety system designed so that it is impossible to display a signal for a train to proceed unless the route is confirmed to be safe. Electronic microprocessor-based interlockings use different communication interfaces depending on the technology used in a particular country. 


Global System for Mobile Communications - Railway (GSM-R) is the most widely used standard for wireless communications in the railway globally. It is used for communication between the trains and railway control centers and is a fundamental part of the railway signaling standards for European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The communication backhaul between the base transceiver station (BTS) and base station controller (BSC) predominantly uses the ITU-T standard G703 E1 (2Mbps). 

Public announcements

Audio announcements are typically used at passenger railway stations to announce localized service disruptions and delays. Particularly in the event of an incident, mission critical communications ensure the quality, timeliness and consistency of information. This allows operators to be able to diffuse critical situations, such as assisting with self-evacuation. 

Operational telephony

Voice communications are an important part of operating a safe and efficient railway. In addition to GSM-R, trackside telephones are installed at signals and other critical locations, like level crossings, to be used when other means of communication are not available or in case of emergency. In the event of a failed signal, thesignaler may instruct a train driver to pass the signal and proceed at caution. 

Network management system

Typical network management systems like Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems rely on real-time exchange of data between its components. From wayside to back office, rail traffic control centers rely on information sent from the field. For instance building information management (BIM) systems need robust communications networks to be able to control elevators and lighting remotely from a control center.


IP-based CCTV systems are increasingly prevalent in railways to improve operational efficiency and safety. These systems are generally installed at stations or level crossings to control traffic. They can also be used for surveillance purposes at key locations. These applications demand high reliability from the underlying network infrastructure to be able to deliver high definition video streams under harsh weather conditions. High-performing cameras may require an upgraded communications infrastructure to meet demands.

Passenger information displays

Railways use passenger information systems (PIS) are typically installed at passenger stations to provide up-to-date timetable information, advertisements, news, or weather information. These systems are connected between stations and control center locations using network infrastructure to synchronize the information with real-time train data.

Legacy data interfaces

While the use of packet-based interfaces are common place in operational railway, many legacy interfaces remain dominant. This includes different legacy communication interfaces used in railway communications including G.703 64kbps, G.703 2 Mbps, RS485 (2-wire, 4-wire), V.24/V.28, X.21/V.11, V.35.


Extend the operational life of legacy systems

As networks expand and railways integrate new technologies, you will need to consider modernizing your communications network infrastructure while supporting your existing infrastructure. Generally, legacy time-division multiplexing (TDM) has difficulty scaling up, and therefore railways are choosing packet-based solutions to improve business critical communications.

This is where Hitachi Energy’s XMC20 application comes in. Our latest MPLS-TP technology is built to connect the old with the new. It transcends generations of communications applications and has had success with railways worldwide. A central part of your migration strategy depends on you choosing the appropriate communication equipment – choose wisely!

Read the white paper here.

A Packet-Based Future

Hitachi Energy’s XMC20 keeps data moving


<50 milliseconds

Recovery time for any link failures



Service Uptime


-25°C to +60°C

Operates in the harshest environments

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Today's demands on railways to digitalize and be more sustainable are propelling us towards the smart cities of tomorrow. We know that decisions need to be made faster and backed by accurate, dependable data.

From infrastructure to rolling stock, Hitachi Energy has automation and electrification solutions suitable for your network.

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