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The availability of low-powered and cheap microprocessors, radio frequency integrated circuits and the development of new wireless communication techniques, make the wireless sensor networks (WSN) one of todays most promising technologies. Minimizing energy consumption and maximizing the lifetime of the networks are key requirements in the design of sensor network applications. Optimally designed medium access control (MAC) and routing protocols minimize energy consumption and prolong the network life. In this study, we have investigated an energy-efficient adaptive TDMA (EA-TDMA) protocol for railway applications that used in communication between sensor nodes and the cluster-head (CH) placed in a railway wagon. This protocol is suitable for medium traffic applications and reduces energy consumption by shortening the idle period when devices have no data to transmit. We have developed an analytical model for EA-TDMA and compared its performance with conventional TDMA and bit-map-assisted (BMA) protocols.