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ENHANCED TRAIN CONTROL

ART’s Enhanced Train Control (ETC) is a highly cost-effective solution, which combines on-board technology and control center software to provide railroads with a complete traffic control solution for both signaled and dark territory environments. The solution relies on a communication infrastructure (Satellite, Radio, GPRS, 3G) that digitally transmits Train Movement Authority Information (Track Warrant or Signaling) to the train. Deployment costs are very low since ETC can be operated without the installation of any additional wayside equipment.

ART’s ETC products are organized in three groups:

WAYSIDE

Railroad control and operation requires solutions and equipment that run in automatic way and work effectively.

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ONBOARD

The on-board system is comprised of an On-Board Computer (OBC), a Communication Module, an End of Train device and a Data Acquisition Module that interface with the locomotive to collect information such as oil temperature, oil pressure, pipe pressure, throttle position and current level, transmitting such information on pre-set intervals to the Control Center.

Using a human-machine interface, the OBC guides the train engineer with performance enhancing procedures to optimize transit time and fuel consumption, without compromising safety. A feature known as "electronic fence" enforces the limits of an authority with a breaking curve that stops the train before the end of the session block where its authority ends. Dynamic speed control is also enforced by the OBC, through its ability to stop the train in an over-speeding situation. The information set available to the engineer includes fuel oil consumption and transit time target per session block; current speed and maximum allowed speed (defined according to the route and speed restrictions); grades and curves (based on the network map and train location); and, icons and alerts on the current status of the OBC unit.

An important component of the OBC is the event recorder that stores real-time data collected by the device for the duration of each trip. The data can be uploaded to a user friendly application that supervisors use to track each engineer's behavior in order to implement a continuous improvement process through coaching and training, or as a "black box" for auditing specific events such as accidents.

  • Automatically and/or remotely enforces operational rules: Improves safety;
  • Authority and track access are automated: Improves transit time;
  • Trip data available to supervisors: Enables continuous improvement;
  • Monitors locomotive data: Improves asset utilization;
  • Streamlines and facilitates communication between Locomotive and Control Center: Improves safety;
  • Enables better train driving: Reduces accidents, improves diesel consumption;
  • Consolidates cabin instruments and displays: Decreases maintenance costs and streamlines; communications between Control Center and engineer;
  • Track map navigation, train position and real time speed information: Improves transit time, improves safety;
  • Event register: Enables continuous improvement and improves safety;
  • Electronic fence – brake application if authority limits and speed are exceeded: Improves safety;
  • Connection to locomotive sensors (notch, dynamic brake, oil pressure and temperature, among others): Improves safety, decreases maintenance costs;
  • Alarms and graphical view of the authority and speed restrictions: Improves safety;
  • Supports distinctive track authority models: Asset productivity.
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OPERATIONAL CONTROL CENTER

For the Control Center, Alta Rail Technology offers a set of applications that interface with trains, throughout the track network, to assist dispatchers with managing train movements in a safe and efficient manner. The software follows American Association of Railroads (AAR) General Code of Operations Rules (GCOR) specifications to prevent two trains from occupying the same track segment in opposite directions.

The central component is the ART’s Safe Train Control (STC) software, developed for both signaled and non-signaled environments, operating independently of the railroad's communication infrastructure. It features event alarms, a user-friendly dispatcher interface, dispatch and customizable video wall displays and is supported in different languages.

The Planning and Execution (PX) system is a time x space graphical tool for planning and optimizing train movements and crossings. The easy-to-use user interface enables the dispatcher to simulate train schedules and quickly adapt to track interdictions, accidents or temporary speed restrictions. PX also allows the dispatcher to set routes or send a track warrant directly through the Alta Safe Train Control software.

One proven way to improve the financial results of a railroad is to motivate train engineers with incentives to reduce fuel oil consumption and transit time. Alta Rail Technology's Rail Rally software module uses data from the OBC event recorder to rank engineers by their driving performance, based on criteria that management wishes to reward.

The Alta Speed Restriction System completes the suite by allowing the dynamic inclusion/exclusion of speed restrictions in the track network, thus reducing the potential for accidents and improving the security for field teams, for example.

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ALTA PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SUITE (APMS)

Alta Performance Management Suite (APMS) is a set of applications that support the continuous improvement of railroad production processes based on productivity (asset and work team) and cost drivers.

The suite's components include a complete railway operating system, a pricing system, a financial analysis system, a permanent way information system, and a yard control system.

Key Performance Indicators are defined in APMS for each task in the production process and tasks are planned to achieve expected performance. Execution is then measured against the performance indicator targets in, or near, real-time. The analysis of the gaps serves as feedback to the planning process in order to make adjustments to continuously improve the performance.

MANAGEMENT

APMS is comprised by ART’s Management Applications:

ALTA RAILWAY OPERATION SYSTEM (AROS)

The core of the Alta Performance Management Suite is the Alta Rail Operating System (AROS), an event driven information system, present at all stages of the production cycle, that enables planning and execution from an asset productivity point of view.

The AROS system incorporates PDCA management methods, whereby business processes have characteristics that can be determined, measured, analyzed, improved and controlled. Each event in the railroad's production process (car movement, train formation, maneuver registration, train movement, car loading/unloading, etc.) is manually or automatically recorded in a database over which AROS sets up an accurate and real-time process for employees to track and manage cars and locomotives in the fleet.

AROS interacts with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, such as SAP ®, to allow invoicing and maintenance information exchange, as well as with other components of the railroad's information systems such as planning, dispatching and report generation, to name a few.

PERMANENT WAY INFORMATION SYSTEM (PWIS)

ART’s Permanent Way Information System (PWIS) supports the prioritization of permanent way maintenance process (defects that need to be fixed). APWIS ranks the critical permanent way defects according to their risks and impacts so that operational managers can pursue an optimal capital allocation plan.

By collecting data from foot inspections with custom-made APWIS devices, data collectors, control cars, ultrasound equipment, infrared equipment, and other inputs, APWIS ranks defects based on a defect index calculated using criteria defined by the railroad. Defects and Field Maintenance Teams are then assigned to a position on the track by their GIS module that facilitates the visual management of the maintenance process. Allocation of investments are guided by the defect index. Work orders are clear and measurable to facilitate the standardization of maintenance procedures, and integration with the ERP triggers payments to external suppliers.

YARD CONTROL CENTER (YCC)

Properly planning shunting maneuvers and train building activities is a key way to improve asset productivity in the yard. ART’s Yard Control Center (YCC) system is a simple-to-use user-friendly graphical tool, through which work is planned and tracked by mouse clicks, with drag and drop functionality. AYCC graphically displays the position of rolling stock on a yard map, and with a simple click on any car or locomotive, the operator sees its type, registration number, state (empty or loaded), destination and product (if loaded), time sitting in the yard, as well as other notes, observations and recommendations.

Learn more about ARTs Management Solutions