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Rail News: Communication and Signal

UP to install cameras on locomotives to facilitate accident investigations


Union Pacific Railroad plans to mount digital cameras and microphones on locomotives to record every trip for accident investigation purposes in the event of incidents, the railroad announced Sept. 20.

To verify train crew and motorist/pedestrian actions in accidents, UP will install Track Image Recorders (TIR), which will be linked to the locomotives' existing event recorders. Each trip will be duplicated in detail with the sound of the air horn and crossing bell, and pictures of the track ahead of the locomotives.

Depending on the model, event recorders monitor speeds, throttle and brake settings, electrical power levels and horn use. The TIR image file and the event recorder data will be time synchronized.

The small cameras will be mounted inside the locomotive cab at the top of the engineer's windshield. A microphone will be mounted outside to record the locomotive's air horn. The video image disk, which can record up to five days, will be retained onboard each locomotive in a lockbox, accessible only to authorized personnel for review.

The first locomotive retrofit phase should be completed by year end, starting with "over-the-road" units that pull trains between cities, according to a UP prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/20/2004