Norfolk Southern and GE Transportation Monday formally announced GE RailEdge Movement Planner, dubbed “a technology that could change the rail industry by increasing the average network speed of trains by 10%-to-20% or two-to-four miles-per-hour.” The two noted, “One mile per hour in velocity improvement has the potential to save approximately $200 million in capital and expense annually.”
The movement planner is a component of UTC (Unified Traffic Control), the new, distributed dispatching system that GE is supplying to NS. NS is gradually rolling out UTC on several divisions, including former Conrail territory.
RailEdge Movement Planner is designed not just to improve railroad capacity and reliability but also to reduce transportation costs. By integrating railroad logistics with traffic control systems, the technology projects expected track usage, based on train schedules, and then produces an optimized plan to get trains moving faster and more efficiently. By maximizing existing railroad resources, RailEdge also improves railroad crew management availability, the companies said.
“RailEdge optimizes the railroad resources that are already in place —something that only technology can truly help us achieve—by enabling railroads to move more freight faster on their existing networks. This technology increases the capacity of railways worldwide, without laying a single new track,” said GE Transportation President and CEO Lorenzo Simonelli. “A two-to-four miles-per-hour increase might not sound like a lot but in freight rail it is a big leap forward.”
NS pioneered the implementation of RailEdge Movement Planner on a 200-mile section of its railroad in Georgia, and said it now is expanding the technology’s use to its entire 22-state rail network through 2012.
“With railroads, it’s about scale,” said NS CEO Wick Moorman.“GE’s RailEdge supports incremental routing and speed improvements down to the individual train level. That will add up to sizeable efficiency gains on a 2,500-train per day, 21,000-route mile system like ours. When we make the best use of our existing transportation infrastructure, that’s a competitive advantage for our customers and for the country.”