I'M ON THE TRAIN... NO IT'S SH1T!
Channel Tunnel passengers will be able to continue chatting unabated while being whisked along 45 metres below the seabed, just in time for the 2012 Olympics. That’s according to The Telegraph. Eurotunnel wonks aren't confirming anything until the official announcement which, we understand, will come tomorrow from the French …
I beg to differ. Only about 40% of the network is without mobile signal, the rest is overground, and a fair proportion of the "underground" section is cut/cover which tends to get a signal just fine.
The Metro doesn't have mobile coverage by design, just a happy coincidence due to most of it being largely at surface-level.
So the French networks are coming closer to England? I wonder how much more accidental roaming will happen near Folkestone ("Welcome to France" SMS), which already happens in places where there's coverage blackspots on the UK networks, yet plenty of signal bleeding across the channel from France.
What would be sensible would be for networking sharing of the tunnel network between all UK and French operators, so that while on the tunnel, nobody is roaming, though I imagine a lot of OFCOM and ARCEP red tape.
In St Margets Bay, which is under the cliffs near Dover, you can't even get reception from a UK network reliably and the only reliable network is from France. Was an expensive mistake to answer the phone when my mother called when I went there for a pint on a sunny day last year.
I was quite surprised to discover the Metro in Budapest had coverage. I say surprised because my phone started ringing in the middle of a tunnel.
Odd thing was I'd been in the city for three days, and in that entire time I hadn't heard a single phone ring, or anyone talking loudly.
Maybe they're just more polite than the people on the London Underground.
So for my loudly ringing phone, I humbly apologise.
Big difference that will make, nobody ever polices such policies.
I remember sitting in the quiet carriage of a C2C train from Fenchurch Street. There was a guy (I have more colourful names I could use, but have controlled myself) who spent the entirety of my journey listening to some god-awful rap music played out through the high fidelity speakers (5Khz-8Khz +-1db) of his mobile.
Honestly, how can anyone think that sounds good or impressive, or was he just wanting to get into an argument?
At least if he had a ghetto blaster I would have had something I could have hit him with!
Sadly, quiet coach restrictions only apply to other people's 'bingly bingly bong' paraphernalia. After a few 'conversations' with offenders, it appears the Quiet Coach is for those who don't want to hear anybody else's frightfully important call while they make their own even more frightfully important calls.
Quiet coaches only work when you have a choice whether to sit in one or not. When you book your ticket and it is not a tick option on the booking form; or when you buy your ticket on the day and there isn't space in the carriage of choice; you are kind of screwed. It is like the bad old days of smoking carriages (or smoking sections on planes) where you were routinely left with the choice of sitting in cigarette smoke or standing in clean air (of course on planes you didn't get the second option - and if you were on the border between the sections you didn't get the choice either).
Personally, I don't have any issue with people talking on mobile phones. I find it no more irritating than listening to a face to face conversation. I do understand other people can get irritated though. In my opinion, train (and bus and plane) operators should do one of the following:
1) Make the entire train/plane/bus a quiet zone. Do it properly and ban talking as well.
2) Make the entire train/plane/bus a non-quiet zone.
3) Make the entire train/plane/bus reserved seating only (I've seen this work in some countries even buying a ticket from the station half way along the route 2 minutes before the train arrives); ensure there is suitable capacity in quiet and non-quiet zones; and then have a split, with things very clear on the ticketing.
But even then compulsory reservations only work well with "quiet coaches" if you can both choose to be in the quiet coach and choose *not* to be in it. When booking trains in the UK you can often choose "i want to be in the quiet coach" but I've never seen "I do not want to be in the quiet coach" offered. So you might want to make calls, but have been dumped in the quiet coach anyway without anyone telling you in advance.
Third option, enforce the quiet zone rules by technology. Screen the carriage so that phones can't work, or add picocells that hijack the phone & refuse calls, or routes them to a machine that just plays back "turn your phone off, dickhead" in all appropriate languages.
What they haven't said is how they've done it.
The most likely method is by leaky feeder.
A leaky feeder consists of a coaxial cable run along tunnels which emits and receives radio waves, functioning as an extended antenna. The cable is "leaky" in that it has gaps or slots in its outer conductor to allow the radio signal to leak into or out of the cable along its entire length.
This system is also used for underground mobile communication in mass transit railways. In Hong Kong the leaky feeder aerial was incorporated in the specification of the capital project and installed during construction. This allows emergency services seamless mobile communication from the underground to the surface.
Aircraft also use a leaky feeder antennae system for the latest generation of IFE systems.
More details on leaky feeders here:
"What they haven't said is how they've done it."
No, but I did further up this page. They haven't explicitly enabled mobile signals, but the Metro is primarily cut and shut - there are very few "tunnels" as such - so the mobile signals generally make it into the train.
It's also why a good portion of the Circle line (or the lines that make it up anyway) can get a mobile signal.
I think money is most likely a bigger aspect in all this. Roaming usually isn't cheap. And if you can get a full train roaming (assuming that it will be turned into "no mans land")...
Before anyone goes "but people will hardly use it" I have to wonder: how many people will realize that their smartphone is still happily seeking new data to collect while its already too late?
I'd be more impressed if they would hookup some kind of wifi :-)
Each tunnel is going to be separately wired. The tunnel heading toward France will be run by UK networks - the agreement is not yet signed. The tunnel toward UK will be run by the French networks.
Presumably it was thought the "handoff" was best done going out of the tunnel rather than going in.
(Source Railway Gazette)
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