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.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that it is distributing $320.6 million to 50 projects that improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of freight rail and intercity passenger service in 29 states.
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.
The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) today released the RSI-100 Product Quality Certification Standard for tank car components.
Social media and virtual messaging is spreading the word for Rail Safety Week (Sept. 21-27) due to the pandemic. The #STOPTrackTragedies campaign is encouraging safe behavior near highway-rail grade crossings and railroad rights-of-way, and raising awareness of the need for rail safety education.
Private high-speed rail developer Texas Central is another step closer to starting construction of a $20 billion, 240-mile line connecting Dallas and Houston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) that establish federal safety standards for operation and give environmental clearance for the selected alignment, respectively.
The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) can expand its freight railroad Safety Culture Assessments (SCA) to another industry sector: commuter rail. A recent study shows that its multimethod assessment process, which has been conducted across 90 short lines to date, is transferable.
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.
Despite the dramatic nature of railroad accidents, conveying goods and passengers by rail is the safest form of ground transportation when compared to other modes. Railway owner-operators are continually finding and implementing new safety innovations that could help prevent accidents and disruptions to service.
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 and Enhanced Train Control; automation: autonomous inspection; AI-based automation: 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.