Barix, a provider of IP-based audio transmission, intercom, control and monitoring, announced that Montreux-Oberland-Bernois (MOB) Railways in Switzerland will become the first customer of a networked audio over IP device designed for harsh everyday operation on railways, buses and ships.
Barix partner Railtec Systems, based in Switzerland, is currently outfitting 14 locomotives and railcars and about 60 passenger carriages operated by MOB Railways with the networked system. The devices are integral to the configuration of MOB Railways' pioneering passenger information and announcement system. The device is responsible for the bidirectional exchange of live announcements as well as priority, monitoring and control information over a TCP/IP network.
“The networked device fits into our information systems,” said Lorenz Trachsel, MD of Railtec Systems.
In Railtec's system, the device components will typically be used for informational and emergency two-way communication between a passenger and a train conductor or guard. In the case of an emergency call, the system can open a two-way channel with an external destination only accessible via radio transmission.
The system can also assume the functions of a public address system in addition to the intercom function. It enables live and prerecorded announcements, in manual or automatic mode. Possibilities include selective announcements in individual zones or to groups of devices; or all-call announcements broadcast to all connected systems.
“The zone-splitting function is of particular significance to MOB Railways. The ‘Golden Pass Services' route is very scenic and attractive, and MOB Railways offers a very diverse range of services for tourists,” Trachsel said. “With selective announcements, systems configured by Railtec enable the relay of commentary to travel groups as they pass by the mountain panorama. This is an ideal feature as the 4,000-meter peaks of the Eiger, M?nch and Jungfrau mountains are on this route.” Prestored texts can be retrieved using GPS, enabling specific and automatic commentary to be provided on particularly scenic places of interest.
The device demonstrates flexibility in preserving the corporate identity of customers, as the operator buttons and intercom panels can be designed in accordance with customer requirements. In terms of control, the system offers a broad level of adaptability to the tasks at hand.
“We can program Barix devices ourselves, enabling tailoring to customer requirements,” said Carmelo Dimotta, Project Leader at Railtec Systems. “Crucial in our decision in choosing Barix was the fact that we can monitor all inputs and outputs in the system. Every device also checks continually for short circuits and line breaks. These readings are displayed in the locomotive or control car, providing the train conductor with a continuous overview of system status. In addition, prioritizing of announcements is programmable, giving automatic priority to safety announcements. The systems are certified for emergency calls through this level of safety.”
The first installations were delivered to MOB Railways in August 2010. Most of the carriages have been in service for years and have been or will be upgraded to support audio over IP. Some new carriages are being ordered and outfitted as comfortable panorama carriages.