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Rail News: Communication and Signal

AAR committee sets mid-2010 deadline for rail industry's narrowband conversion


The Association of American Railroads' Safety & Operations Management Committee (SOMC) recently set the first rail industry deadline for converting radio transmissions to a federally mandated narrowband, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA).

At its August meeting, the SOMC set July 1, 2010, as the date locomotives operated at interchange or in run-through service must be equipped with radios capable of transmitting at 12.5 KHz. In 2003, the Federal Communications Commission issued a rule requiring all non-military two-way radio transmissions to transition from 25 KHz to 12.5 KHz by January 1, 2013. Afterward, transmissions at 25 KHz no longer will be permitted.

The committee chose the deadline to provide railroads a two-and-one-half-year window to convert locomotive radios to narrowband at all operating locations. The Transportation Technology Center Inc.'s Spectrum Management Office, which oversees railroad radio frequency assignments, will help determine a timetable for the transition on a geographical basis, the ASLRRA said.

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