PTC hosting, Herzog-style

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Herzog Technologies, Inc. (HTI) has rolled out Herzog PTC Hosting, described as “providing Positive Train Control messaging capabilities, back office SaaS (software as a service) and a variety of other PTC services to help railroads meet PTC requirements without large up-front capital investments or lengthy setup timelines.”

Herzog PTC Hosting “provides full Interoperable Train Control Messaging (ITCM) connected to the Interoperable Train Control federated network at both the MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching*) and messaging layers,” HTI said. “Herzog PTC Hosting also includes the Herzog PTC Back Office Server (BOS) and Herzog Key Exchange Server (KES) software running on the HTI infrastructure.

HTI describes the service as “Back Office software agnostic, able to run software from any combination of vendors to support each customer’s unique needs. HTI provides 24/7 monitoring and support to Herzog PTC Hosting customers. HTI developed this solution with internal research and development funding as part of our ongoing commitment to simplifying PTC.”

HTI designed and implemented Herzog PTC Hosting in partnership with Red Hat Consulting, Meteorcomm Communications and other technology partners. The service “simplifies PTC, allowing railroads to offload complicated ITCM and BOS responsibilities to experienced HTI staff,” HTI said.

“The idea of ‘hosting’ started as a solution to an internal problem,” said HTI Vice President of Rail Systems Jim Hanlon. “We maintain several railroads, and realized the cost of PTC messaging and the back office software, let alone staffing, would be a big financial hit to our customers. From there, we realized this internal solution could be applied externally and help railroads we don’t currently maintain. Herzog PTC Hosting is the solution that brings the infrastructure and experts together. We can continue to invest heavily in reliability, skilled staff, and around-the-clock support. Then every hosted railroad gets the benefits at a fraction of what it would cost them to do it individually.”

HTI explained that its hosting infrastructure “is located in geographically diverse, state-of-the art commercial data centers. Real-time system monitoring, configuration management, and a test lab increase the reliability of the HTI solution. Herzog PTC Hosting is federated as a Tier 1 ITCM peer under the HTIX SCAC (Standard Carrier Alpha Code**).”

“Herzog has been in the rail industry since 1972,” said HTI President Brad Lager. “We know that PTC is complicated, and we’re happy to partner with freight and commuter rail clients to reduce the burden on our customers. Just as we have served the rail industry for nearly 45 years, we are in this for the long haul.”

HTI is a supplier of PTC-related services and software, including PTC system integration, PTC survey and data management, and PTC back office software. HTI also provides signal and communication services. HTI is a subsidiary of Herzog Contracting Corp., founded in 1969.

*Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) is a type of data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks that directs data from one network node to the next based on short path labels rather than long network addresses, avoiding complex lookups in a routing table.

** The Standard Carrier Alpha Code, a two-to-four letter identification, is used in the U.S. by the transportation industry to identify freight carriers in computer systems and shipping documents such as Bill of Lading, Freight Bill, Packing List, and Purchase Order. It is also used by the American National Standards Institute, Accredited Standards Committee X12, and United Nations EDIFACT for Electronic Data Interchange computer systems. SCACs are commonly used by the automobile, petroleum, forest products, and chemical industries; as well as suppliers to retail businesses, carriers engaged in railroad piggyback trailers, and ocean container drayage. Freight Carriers who participate in the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Agreement (UIIA) are required to maintain an SCAC. Certain groups of SCACs are reserved for specific purposes. Codes ending with the letter “X” are reserved for the identification of privately owned railroad cars.









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