GSM-R: future improvements

GSM-R’s continued success depends on all who use it

Phased into service across Britain’s rail network between 2007 and 2014, GSM-R is already a major achievement, requiring the renewal of the entire lineside network that supports the railway’s daily telecom needs.

However, there’s much more to come.  Future enhancements to the system include a software upgrade supporting the roll-out of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). Delivering enhancements such as these and continuing the success relies on collaboration with everyone who uses the system.

Room for improvement

The causes of delay incidents are often complex, involving a chain of causes and effects that are not solely technical. These can include:

  • Interference
  • In-cab radio fault
  • Human error
  • Infrastructure
  • Registration
  • Spurious REC call
  • Unknown

We all have a part to play

The GSM-R System matters to everyone one of us:

  • Signallers
  • Delay attribution
  • Drivers
  • Route Maintenance
  • NRT

We all are a part of delivering better performance.

Help make things even better

If it’s not reported, it can’t be fixed – so please help make things even better by reporting any problems and faults related to the GSM-R System.

Cab mobile V4 upgrade

This multi-million pound industry-wide programme seeks to address rail safety risks and the performance impact of interference from other mobile network operators’ services.  The programme will upgrade every train driving cab’s GSM-R hardware and software to cab mobile version 4.0.  This national deployment encompasses some 9,000 cabs and commences in October 2019.  For more information about this programme, please email:

Optimising GSM-R

GSM-R service levels can be impacted by a diverse range of factors such as, interference from the public mobile network operators, the effects of vegetation growth and new buildings built near the railway.  To combat these, data from the cab radio fleet is constantly monitored and used to identify locations where the GSM-R network needs attention.  The data is also used to plan changes and upgrades to the GSM-R network to address identified issues and thus, optimise the network.

Continuous improvement

Our continuous improvement worksteams, focused on the technical, behavioural, process and people aspects of the overall GSM-R service performance, aim to minimise train delay and maximise availability of the service, supporting drivers and signallers when they need it.

How you can help

If you’re working on the railway, you can help to make the GSM-R communications system better by reporting any problems or faults.

For more information about our telecoms assets or services, please contact

More information