Leaders Gather to Explore LEADER® Capabilities

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Users from around the world of New York Air Brake’s LEADER® technology recently gathered at the company’s Train Dynamic Systems (TDS) facilities in Irving, Tex., to “discuss pertinent industry trends, share best practices and learn about advancements in the company’s robust LEADER technology and its long-term roadmap.”

At New York Air Brake’s (NYAB) LEADER® Users Conference, railway executives from three continents, including senior leadership from four North America Class I’s and several mining railroads, heard from speakers covering topics ranging from “train control optimization” to “transformation to increase reliability and productivity.” Roundtable discussions focused on driving operational efficiency, and included debates on Positive Train Control’s (PTC) effect on movement planning, Precision Scheduled Railroading’s (PSR) influence on investment, and LEADER’s (Locomotive Engineer Assist/Display & Event Recorder) impact on train control automation.

“Operating longer trains while reducing fuel and equipment costs is essential to today’s railroads,” noted NYAB. Conference attendees “agreed that managing in-train forces using an on-board computer reduces fuel and equipment costs and enhances opportunities to improve network efficiency, customer service and safety.”

“LEADER is a proven on-board train control and energy management system,” said NYAB Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales and Service Jason Connell. “It offers unmatched in-train force management capabilities. The NYAB product development and service strategy is deeply rooted in serving our customers to our fullest ability. Customer feedback continues to be the greatest source of improvement ideas, and the LEADER Users Conference is a premier event that provides a valuable opportunity for all of us to step back from our day-to-day business requirements to share insights, ideas and feedback surrounding the issues that are most critical to today’s railroads.”

NYAB, a North American-based subsidiary of Munich, Germany-based Knorr-Bremse Group, said it “designed LEADER® to command all four freight train control systems—throttle, dynamic brake, independent brake and air brakes—providing precise control that conserves fuel and reduces in-train forces. NYAB’s energy management software uses track profile, consist manifests, and GPS data to ‘look ahead’ and calculate the ideal [operating] strategy in real time to achieve low fuel consumption, at a desired velocity, with minimal in-train forces.”

“With Precision Scheduled Railroading, longer trains with a wider mix of cars and the march toward automation, controlling in-train forces is more essential than ever,” noted Connell. “Our customers agree that LEADER’s elegant design and deep integration set it apart as the superior product for train handling in the market today.”

“Safely running long, heavy trains is a topic of great interest in the PSR world, where railroads seek to maximize asset utilization,” stated NYAB Director of Marketing Deepak Kumar. “Customers report they are running longer, heavier trains with no derailments or break-in-twos, and credit LEADER’s ability to accurately predict run-in and run-out impacts—and take action in real time to minimize in-train forces, regardless of power distribution or consist.”

LEADER is deployed on more than 5,000 locomotives worldwide. The system is part of the range of NYAB technology and innovation “focused on delivering unequaled reliability, performance, and return on investment,” the company said.

On Aug. 27, 2019, 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. The test, called “Zero-to-Zero,” involved the latest iteration of LEADER.

NYAB showcased several new or enhanced locomotive and railcar technologies at Railway Interchange 2019 in Minneapolis. Among these were the LD-1000® Air Dryer, Oil-Free Air Compressors, CCB II, DB-60 II™ with BCM™, Locomotive Parking Brake, and Angle Cock Repair Cartridges.

About New York Air Brake LLC

New York Air Brake LLC (NYAB), a member of the Knorr-Bremse Group, describes itself as “developing and supplying leading-edge air brake control systems and components, electronically controlled braking systems, foundation brakes, training simulators and train handling systems, and wayside equipment to the rail industry. An industry pioneer since 1890, our more-than 850 team members have a deep customer commitment that fuels us to deliver solutions for improved rail performance, safety, and overall operating cost.” NYAB is headquartered in Watertown, N.Y., with manufacturing plants in Nixa, Riverside and Wheatland, Mo.; Salisbury, N.C.; West Chicago, Ill.; along with Train Dynamic Systems (TDS), a technology development unit Irving, Tex.

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