RAILWAY AGE, SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE – For rail customers, Precision Scheduled Railroading is a mixed blessing. At a North East Association of Rail Shippers (NEARS) conference earlier this year, PSR’s promises and perils took center stage.
RAILWAY AGE, SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE – Aug. 27, 2019 will arguably be one of the single-most important days in North American freight railroading in recent history. On a test track at TTCI (Transportation Technology Center, Inc.) in Pueblo, Colo., with railroad executives and industry officials in attendance and locomotive engineers in the cab, a PTC (Positive Train Control)-compliant, heavy-haul freight train consisting of three EMD high-horsepower road locomotives and 30 loaded cars carrying 4,725 trailing tons started and stopped solely under the command of an on-board computer.
RAILWAY AGE, SEPTEMBER 2019 ISSUE – Using Big Data, algorithms and IoT tools to manage locomotive assets: Freight volumes on North American railroads have been showing reductions on monthly year-on-year comparisons throughout 2019. The AAR reported that in the first half the year, cumulative volume was down 3.1% from the same point last year and intermodal units were down 3.5% from last year. While this economic situation continues to play out, the railroads are in the midst of a revolution in the availability of massive amounts of data being produced and captured. Expanding sets of information flow into organizations daily from GPS systems, signaling, Positive Train Control (PTC), Internet of Things (IoT) sources and locomotive on-board event recorders.
CRRC MA Corp. on Sept. 12 released an infographic “outlining the U.S. supply chain for passenger trains being manufactured for America’s first transit system, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).” The infographic “reveals that all software and electronic components on CRRC MA railcars are Buy America compliant, provided by American suppliers, and installed by an American unionized workforce,” CRRC said in a press release.
Rail-related parts and components supplier PowerRail, Inc. was recently awarded a multi-year, $1.9 million contract with New Jersey Transit to manufacture new Passenger Car Class F Journal Adapter Boxes.
Reporting on the Cowen and Company Global Transport Conference in Bosto, Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor Jason Seidl and analysts Matt Elkott and Adam Kramer offer these observations taken from the conference’s railcar/locomotive builder and Class I railroad panels, with a large trucker and a logistics/LTL company added for deeper perspective:
Imagine Surface Transportation Board (STB) members Ann D. Begeman, Patrick J. Fuchs and Martin J. Oberman dining family-style, where one entree is shared. Ann wants fish, Marty chicken, and Patrick says he wants neither and wishes to leave. Unable to agree on an order, the three depart the restaurant.
In extremely cold weather, poor combustion sealing can cause diesel engine lube oil to get past piston rings in the power assemblies and pushed out the exhaust stack. Locomotive mechanical officers call the condition “souping.” It’s a messy environmental problem, with oil-coated carbodies that need to be cleaned, at high labor and disposal costs.
Advanced Internet of Things (IoT) services provider Wi-Tronix, LLC recently celebrated its 15th year in the rail industry.
In a wide-ranging interview with Railway Age in December 2018, BNSF’s then-Executive Chairman Matt Rose had this to say about the future of locomotive propulsion technology: