FENOCO (Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia S.A.) is responsible for the administration, operation and maintenance of the railway infrastructure and rolling stock of Concesionaria Ferroviaria del Atlántico in northern Colombia.

The company worked with a Teltronic TETRA system that provided mainly voice and short data along the entire 246 km long Chiriguaná-Santa Marta line, which is mainly used for coal transport.

Teltronic subsidiary PowerTrunk approached General Electric Company to integrate and validate its TETRA data management solution with GE’s Incremental Train Control System (ITCS). A laboratory system was set up at GE’s facility in Melbourne, Florida.

The joint solution complied with all the requirements established for PTC (Positive Train Control) systems by the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) in the United States. Once the technical requirements were clear, GE proposed Teltronic’s TETRA solution to implement its ITCS over TETRA solution in Ferrocarriles del Norte de Colombia, following the Colombian Government’s directives that ensured the highest level of security required in railway environments.

The existing communications system offered voice, GPS location and short data-based messaging services for the management of maintenance operations and traffic regulation for the three freight companies working on the line. FENOCO wanted to reuse the existing TETRA infrastructure to develop the PTC application on a 193km stretch of track from Ciénaga to La Loma.

The use of a single digital network allows for minimal maintenance costs and maximum ROI of the existing TETRA system, where coverage in critical areas was improved through coverage overlap. Furthermore, the technical feasibility of TETRA technology as an efficient and secure communications support for railway signalling markets is proven.

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