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European Antennas Case Study: Supplies Antennas to Thales for CTRL and St Pancras

Please click here to visit the European Antennas website. CASE STUDY:

European Antennas Ltd has designed and manufactured antennas for Thales communication systems in the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and London St Pancras International station.

St. Pancras Clock
The famous clock in St Pancras station features a discreet antenna

European Antennas Ltd has designed and manufactured antennas for Thales for use on Section 2 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) project between Fawkham Junction in Kent and London St Pancras International station.

Section 2 of the CTRL includes the provision of 65km of new high speed track allowing speeds of up to 186mph (300km/hr), bridges and structures along the route, and the construction of the three developments at St Pancras, Stratford and Ebbsfleet stations.

Thales was targeted with several key tasks relating to communications within CTRL. These included the provision of improved GSM-R and Cab Secure Radio (CSR) coverage for the railway operators to maximise safety and to provide coverage for the London Fire Brigade in the evacuation shafts from CTRL tunnels and passenger exit shafts.

After evaluating suppliers, Thales appointed European Antennas Ltd to design and manufacture a range of single and multi-band antennas. From previous association Thales were confident that European Antennas would provide exactly what was required, knowing that their service for antenna design, engineering, manufacturing and performance testing would support the needs of their customer.

St. Pancras Platform
At St Pancras International, a new platform control box with sleek antenna.

The prestigious but demanding CTRL civil engineering project presented unique challenges for wireless communications with 25% of the new route in tunnels with trains traveling through at speeds of up to 150mph.

An environmental feature of this application was the wind speed caused by trains within tunnels and resultant vibration that would have to be absorbed. Antennas would therefore need to be impervious to their surroundings, be tough, reliable, have low wind loading and meet the RF requirements to an uncompromising specification. Antennas for installation within St Pancras International would need to be discreet in appearance to merge within the magnificent new station.

European Antennas designed eight antennas to meet these requirements. All the newly designed antennas had specific power levels and cover the frequencies for GSM-R, Cab Secure Radio and the London Fire Brigade services.

One of the development projects undertaken was that of a slim panel antenna that was designed to support the emergency services system in London tunnels and the associated emergency evacuation routes. Mounted inside a firewall of an evacuation tunnel, this antenna features long length insulated cable so that the radio could be mounted at a safe distance to ensure its use in an emergency. The antenna still maintained 8.4dBi gain and full coverage down the shaft.


Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing defence, aerospace and security markets worldwide. Thales’s leading-edge technology is supported by 22 000 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. To this end, the group’s civil and military businesses develop in parallel and share a common base of technologies to serve a single objective: the security of people, property and nations. The group builds its growth on its unique multi-domestic strategy based on trusted partnerships with national customers and market players, while leveraging its global expertise to support local technology and industrial development. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with forecast 2007 revenues in excess of € 12 billion.

Transportation systems activities of Thales specialise in the deployment of intelligent, high value-added solutions for the public transport and road transport markets. Activities include ticketing, supervision and control, communication and security systems, traffic management, fleet management and passenger information systems, electronic road toll collection, urban traffic management and public car park management.

In the United Kingdom, transportation systems activities of Thales benefits from over 50 years of experience in the provision of telecommunications networks and systems and employs a workforce of over 1300 engineers and support staff. Project management capability ranges from small packages to large, complex communications projects.


European Antennas Ltd provides a streamlined, rapid development service as it is recognised that communication systems may be under development before antenna specifications can be finalised. New developments have patterns measured at the company’s on-site near field spherical test chamber, with all antennas being tested during manufacture. Design, manufacture and administration are carried out at a single facility in the UK ensuring that quality control is maintained. European Antennas has ISO 9001 certification and is part of the Cobham Antennas Division.
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