The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) has awarded a $50 million task-order contract to HDR Engineering Inc., AECOM Technical Services Inc., RailPros, Hill International Inc., and Parsons.
Rail Group On Air Podcast: Commuter Rail Coalition, A Look Ahead. PTC 2.0 – What’s Possible? Technology, Policy, Performance
This edition of our continuing series with the Commuter Rail Coalition takes a look ahead at technology, policy and performance. What’s next as Positive Train Control evolves to “PTC 2.0”? What’s possible?
This installment of the Rail Group On Air podcast series sponsored by the Commuter Rail Coalition features Virginia Railway Express CEO Rich Dalton, who discusses COVID-19 recovery; his U.S. Navy experience; PTC
While New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX) service remains suspended due to COVID-19, work is under way to upgrade the wireless network for its commuter rail fleet, which includes nine Wabtec-manufactured Rail Runner locomotives and nine cab cars. Positive Train Control (PTC) installation also continues.
As a lifelong railroader, I’m especially pleased to join Operation Lifesaver Inc. (OLI) and others across the nation in observing Rail Safety Week (RSW). In addition to Canada, this year we also welcome our colleagues in Mexico in helping all of us in North America to raise the profile of rail safety awareness.
I don’t often feel the need to defend our industry’s regulator, the Federal Railroad Administration. Part of that is me. Like many who have stumbled into a career in this industry (and I literally stumbled my way into railroad employment, half-blinded and three-quarters frozen by a blizzard in Chicago), I’ve always had a problem with authority. Not that I begrudge anyone his or her authority, title, rate of pay—any of that stuff. I just don’t like other people telling me what to do, and I positively hate it when others think they need to tell me what to do.
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye sent warning letters to MTA’s 11 largest suppliers on Sept. 17. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacted a horrific toll in human, social and economic terms across the nation,” he noted in the letters. “I am writing to alert you that because of this financial devastation, many current and all future contracts are in jeopardy without an injection of $12 billion in emergency federal aid.”
PART 1, THE CASE FOR SYSTEM SAFETY: Industry 4.0 (also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is a reality. Railroads, including their partners in the transportation supply chain, are at the beginning of their journey to establishing true end-to-end digital continuity. For example: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT); Positive Train Control (PTC) and Enhanced Train Control (ETC); and AI (artificial intelligence)-based automation such as expanding autonomous inspection to include predictive analytics for track data. How do we know that these solutions and systems are safe and that there are no lurking issues? How do we know that the integration of multiple components from vendors, partners, and even from within meet safety objectives? How do we know if safety integrity is preserved after a change is made? How do we shift the paradigm where safety moves from a cost center to a value-added business driver? In Part I, we make the case for system safety as the necessary discipline for railroads to embed as they move forward in innovating and advancing in the 21st century.
Three industry professionals with nearly 140 years of combined experience have joined forces at Railroad OP Services LLC, a new company whose purpose is assisting railroads with audits, rulebook updates and training to improve overall safety culture and public image, and limit financial exposure. Joe Meade and Bruce Parkin, along with company founder JD. Riley, describe themselves as “knowledgeable subject matter experts” who can provide on-site services to determine vulnerabilities, teach safety practices and prepare for Federal Railroad Administration inspections and audits.
Ingenuity and innovation have made rail one of the safest modes of transportation in our nation today. Hard lessons were learned over many decades by railroads, workers and regulators. Significant strides were made possible by the development and widespread adoption of evolving technologies and modern business practices. Among the contemporary cutting-edge technologies making their mark on the railroad industry is artificial intelligence, or “AI.”