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Rail News: Communication and Signal

RSSI 2012 recap: Attendees talk rail technology, trends


Rail technology ruled during the Railway Systems Suppliers Inc.’s (RSSI) 52nd C&S Exhibition, which was held May 22-23 at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. In all, 1,489 people with rail-industry ties (including more than 400 freight and passenger railroad representatives) attended the event.

At exhibitor booths, in the aisles, at the in-hall dining tables — wherever they convened — attendees talked technology, trends and shop. Like other industry segments, the communication and signaling (C&S) sector is a community all its own. At the RSSI show, longtime technology providers compared notes with recent market entrants; both chatted up floor-walkers (some from overseas) who said their respective firms were thinking about “getting into the rail space,” a phrase I heard a few times. And why not? In rail country, the C&S realm is where the high-tech worlds meet. It’s also home to the subculture that is positive train control (PTC).

PTC talk has permeated this show for the past several years, and the conversation has evolved right along with the technology. It’s commensurate with the progress railroads are making as they chip away at their implementation plans. In short: The chipping continues, RSSI exhibitors said — although some railroad officials might question the pace of said "chipping," given the development/availability of certain components.

“It’s been workmanlike, and we’re all still busy,” as one supplier told me. “But unlike the past few years, PTC is no longer the only thing [railroads] are talking to us about.”

Another reason, perhaps, that technology providers continue to seek entry into the rail space through the C&S door.

“The more the merrier,” one supplier said. “We need ideas.”

Pat Foran, Editor

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/4/2012