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The Rail Pulse: The Transformation of 21st Century Rail Transport in USA

The Rail Pulse: The Transformation of 21st Century Rail Transport in USA
photo: Archives/Railway
04 / 11 / 2020

The GATX Corporation, the Norfolk Southern, the Genesee & Wyoming, the TrinityRail and the Watco have announced a creation of a joint technology platform. It aims to transform the rail transport of the 21st century. The project aims to facilitate the adoption of car monitoring via the GPS. It should also deal with other telematics technologies.

This project aims to support the development of modern technologies across the North American fleet. We know the same trend from the European railway market, where the strongest market players also come together and, for example, test new modern technologies together. It is therefore a global vision of rail transport.

The entire project is funded by Pennsylvania's Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Program. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and member firms (GATX Corporation, Norfolk Southern, Genesee & Wyoming, TrinityRail and Watco) will invest in further expanding this platform.

The main task of the project is to introduce new measures as soon as possible. These relate to the main two topics: security and competitiveness. As part of safety, the Rail Pulse members intend to focus on handbrake and impact issues. They want to collect data that would help both railway operators and railcar drivers. In parallel with the development of new technologies, the Rail Pulse will also implement new telematics functions. For example, the installation of an on-board bearing temperature sensor and a wheel impact sensor. These technologies include data acquisition, track visibility, information on whether cars are loaded or empty, and other information.

The Rail Pulse was founded by member companies as an independent telematics entity for railway wagons. It is to work for the benefit of the whole railway ecosystem: Hauliers, Class I railways, short lines, regional railways, transfer carriers and wagon lessors. It is intended to facilitate the tracking of shipments across North America and to maintain the security requirements and aspects of the vehicle owner and also implement new telematics functions.