Radio Coverage in Rail/Road Tunnels

I don’t know where to put this post at I couldn’t find a topic for non-digital radio technical discussions, so I’ve created this topic.

Back around 2012, you could pick up all or most of the high-power FM stations in the Melbourne underground rail loop. The sound quality wasn’t always the best but the coverage was consistent. They must have installed a system to provide coverage.

However, yesterday I checked it out and it was gone, i.e. no FM reception underground. Is this temporary or have they removed this system altogether?

I note that there isn’t FM coverage in Sydney’s underground rail lines either. Also these days you can just use your smartphone for most stations, as both Sydney and Melbourne have good mobile coverage in their underground rail lines.

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It was the reverse situation in Melbourne’s City Loop tunnels a decade ago, when you couldn’t receive mobile calls and use wi-fi in train tunnels and at station platforms. 5-6 years ago the Victorian Government finally began an upgrade of the relay transponder system which improved mobile reception and eliminated mobile blackspots.

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I can understand FM transmissions for radios in cars in road tunnels but why would you need FM radio in a rail tunnel these days?

FM radio coverage on the underground Illawarra Line is non-existent APART from on Redfern Platform 11, where there are a few holes in the wall :smiley: This is because of the ‘ghost platforms’ that were half built to the west of the current Illawarra Line platforms.

For passengers To keep listening to FM radio when trains go underground which can be around 10-15 minutes. These days I’m not sure what % of passengers that would be. 20-30 years ago perhaps it was a larger %, but these days who listens to the radio on the train?

IIRC the city link tunnel repeaters rely on stations paying big $$$ to support the relay system. Possibly radio stations aren’t prepared to pay up for city loop tunnel coverage anymore?

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I’d say any commuters on a train or bus who want to listen to radio live, would use a radio app on their smart phone, than a radio of any sort.

Which probably justifies it now potentially been turned off


If you can get data connectivity via mobile coverage. Voda doesn’t work in Brisbane’s rail tunnels.


Makes me wonder if mobile coverage will work in Cross River Rail when that opens. I thought I had read that they were going to cater for it. The tunnels are about 6km long.

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