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Rail News Home C&S

February 2024

Rail News: C&S

Developers put in the sweat equity to refine rail crew management software

After adopting GIRO’s HASTUS software, BART cut down the time it needed to build crewing solutions while maintaining employees’ work-life balance.
Photo – GIRO


Compiled by Jeff Stagl, Managing Editor


GIRO aims to help passenger-rail operators worldwide improve efficiency, notably through its HASTUS software. HASTUS is a flexible and modular solution designed to integrate planning, scheduling and operations management for all public transportation modes.

Railroads are focusing on three crew management areas: compliance with regulations, staff empowerment and efficiency in planning and assigning work, GIRO officials said in an email.

The artificial intelligence/optimization and decision support capabilities of HASTUS help railroads optimize the fundamentals of rail planning and operations, including timetables, rolling stock and personnel.

Clients can improve schedules and rostering for both onboard and station staff; quickly plan cost-efficient work shifts that comply with union rules, staff qualifications and fatigue regulations; and reoptimize shifts to adapt to timetable changes, company officials said. Meanwhile, the software’s web bidding feature enables employees to submit preferences for assigned shifts and duties, and request shift swaps and vacation exchanges from a cell phone.

More than 100 rail operators in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific use HASTUS to adapt to rapid changes, manage rolling stock and workforce, and improve service quality, GIRO officials said.

In the United States, HASTUS is deployed at various passenger-rail systems, including Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and Chicago Transit Authority. After adopting HASTUS, BART cut its time to build crewing solutions, pay-to-platform ratio and start-time variation while enhancing operators’ quality of life, GIRO officials said.


SafeTrack Crew is designed to manage job scheduling and crew assignments, including vacancy management.

MaxAccel’s SafeTrack Crew™ management application continues to evolve with new features and functionality as a growing addition to the company’s SafeTrack platform.

At its core, SafeTrack Crew manages job scheduling and crew assignments, including vacancy management, MaxAccel officials said. The web- and mobile-based system provides common crew management functionality such as employee certification status, extra boards, transactional history, employee communications, hours-of-service compliance, job/territory qualification and payroll with claims and arbitraries.

New functionality includes improved extra board management, temporary job assignment and relief job assignment.

The SafeTrack Crew Mobile™ smartphone app offers a range of benefits to train and engine employees and SafeTrack customers in general, MaxAccel officials said. Real-time job and extra-board status informs employees of their upcoming work assignments along with supplemental information that’s vital to their quality of life, they said.

MaxAccel officials believe SafeTrack Crew represents the next-generation crew management solution for the railroad industry. Easy to implement and use, it’s a highly functional system supporting railroads large and small, they said.

SafeTrack Crew offers a more economical and streamlined crew management system, tailored to meet the needs of customers and the transportation market in general. The software is backed by MaxAccel’s customer service, company officials said.

MaxAccel’s focus is developing web-based software solutions to drive safety, regulatory compliance, operational efficiency and a return on investment for customers. Over 200 freight railroads, passenger operations and railroad contractors rely on MaxAccel’s suite of AssetPro™ and SafeTrack™ applications every day, company officials said.

PS Technology

PS Technology offers several software options for crew management that span locomotive to non-operational crews — such as mechanical and maintenance-of-way workers — including CrewPro.
PS Technology

PS Technology (PST) has several options for crew management that span locomotive crews to non-operational crews, such as mechanical and maintenance of way. The solutions now offer integrations and workflow automation to streamline efforts while improving safety and regulatory compliance.

PST’s solutions offer an hours-of-service (HOS) component. However, the increasing sophistication of both railroads and holding companies means they are seeking smarter tools that work across silos and regulatory needs, PST officials said.

For nonoperational employees, PST’s TimeTrax is designed as a comprehensive solution that’s preloaded with over 2,000 positions and crafts. Agreements are honored by the system to simplify bids and bumps.

The TimeTrax solutions can integrate with PST’s qualification solution as well as its drug and alcohol solution. That level of integration significantly reduces exposure to enforcement actions that are often created by delayed manual processes, PST officials said.

Additionally, TimeTrax can integrate with PST’s automated vacation bidding system to further accelerate and simply the annual process of vacation bidding, which can be reduced to less than two weeks, they said.

For engineers and conductors, PST offers its flagship product — CrewPro — to Class Is. This solution is a complete re-write of PST’s earlier crew management solution, company officials said. Unlike TimeTrax, CrewPro automatically handles dynamic crew scheduling needs, integrating with TimeTrax’s capabilities as well as with taxi/van services, hotel and other services essential for larger railroads.

For smaller railroads PST’s CrewPro Short Line (CPSL) includes a simplified version of its Class I counterpart. CPSL allows a single individual to more easily manage HOS and reporting needs and can be integrated with other PST solutions, company officials said.

Railroad Software

The trackHOS system’s recent enhancements include a faster implementation process designed to ensure teams get going with minimal downtime and disruption.
Railroad Software

Railroad Software remains dedicated to enhancing the efficiency and user-friendliness of its rail crew management systems, with recent updates emphasizing not just refinement but also the ease of implementation for users, company officials said.

The trackHOS system has garnered significant improvements aimed at streamlining the user interface and making the system more intuitive and welcoming, they said. Among the enhancements: a faster and easier implementation process designed to ensure that teams can get up and running with minimal downtime and disruption. That focus on efficiency is complemented by improved filter displays and a user-friendly landing page, all designed to enhance the daily operations and user engagement, Railroad Software officials said.

For the trackWorker system, updates have been strategically focused on user convenience and operational efficiency, company officials said. The system now features a more streamlined experience for managing OPS test settings and a unified user profile structure, simplifying task management and system interaction.

The enhancements are part of a commitment to provide solutions that aren’t just robust, but also user-centric and straightforward to use, company officials said.

The Unistar-HR switch machine can control a moveable point frog from a single interface to the signal system with multiple drive points for full mechanical locking and detection. Additionally, the Unistar-HR offers a small footprint, is flood resistant and can be installed without a crane.

Nortrak is the only North American special trackwork supplier with in-house production of manganese steel, concrete ties, ductile iron, direct-fixation fasteners and injection-molded plastics, enabling the company “to control its own supply chain, and develop and manufacture integrated turnouts, diamond crossings and all varieties of frogs and special trackwork components,” Nortrak officials said.

Railroad Software aims to continuously improve its products, ensuring that they remain reliable, user-friendly and effective in meeting the day-to-day needs of rail crew management.

The company recognizes the industry’s interest in advanced features such as automation, predictive analytics and comprehensive operational insights. However, the current focus is on perfecting the core functionalities and usability of the existing systems, ensuring that they deliver consistent, high-quality performance and support the essential operations of rail crews effectively, Railroad Software officials said.

That commitment to quality and user satisfaction underlines the company’s dedication to supporting the essential operations of rail crews with solutions that are both cutting-edge and practical, they said.

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