New Comms Network Ensures Efficient Rail System for Iraqis

By John Lee.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the Iraqi Republic Railroad (IRR) celebrated the launch of Iraq’s new Computer-Based Train Control (CBTC) and Digital Microwave Radio Communications Network (DMRCN) during a handover ceremony on July 18.

The project was sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, through the U.S. Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Government of Iraq as set out by the Strategic Framework Agreement.

The July 18 ceremony was held in Baghdad’s Central Rail Station and featured the participation of Deputy Transportation Minister Bangen Renkani, U.S. Embassy Acting Assistant Chief of Mission for Assistance Transition, Brian McFeeters, and members of the Office of Transportation Attaché (OTA) staff and IRR. The event included a presentation of the CBTC system capabilities, a tour of the CBTC Operations Center and DMRCN shelter, and a review of the CBTC system onboard an Iraqi locomotive.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. McFeeters stated that “the ownership transfer of the CBTC/DMRCN project represents the culmination of a cooperative effort that began in 2005 and now provides increased operational safety in a critical part of the Iraqi transportation system.” He added, “Iraq’s rail system provides a fundamental capability to engage not only in the domestic movement of passengers and goods, but more importantly, to promote international trade.”

An efficient and safe railway system is an essential part of American efforts to help Iraq rebuild its transportation infrastructure to move goods, people and raw materials. The new communications network establishes a state-of-the-art train control system that allows dispatchers to control rail movements throughout the IRR network, and is designed to ensure all the components of the CBTC and DMRCN are integrated properly to successfully transmit the required voice and data information.

The CBTC network consists of an onboard locomotive computer system, a centralized dispatching office, and a digital track database. The DMRCN consists of 33 microwave radio transmission towers located from Umm Qasr in the south to Rabiya at the Syrian border. The project also included a significant training component for 18 Iraqi engineers, dispatchers and others, who will now assume full operation of the system.

(Source: US Embassy)

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