PTC

Rail Safety Week and Infrastructure Investments Go Hand in Hand

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.

In Defense of the FRA

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.

NYMTA to “Supplier’s 11”: You’re “In Jeopardy”

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.”

Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident: System Safety Comes of Age

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.

Introducing Railroad OP Services LLC

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.

FRA RD&T: Using AI to Improve Safety

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.”