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8/27/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Alaska Railroad to install positive train-control system




Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) recently awarded Quantum Engineering Inc. a contract to install a collision-avoidance, positive train-control (PTC) system using the supplier's Train Sentinel® system.

To be installed on all ARRC locomotives, the system is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, enforce speed limits, and protect roadway workers and equipment. A microprocessor-based train-control system, Train Sentinel will incorporate Engesis' personal computer-based distributed computer-aided dispatching system to provide ARRC train control and dispatching operations from Anchorage.

Train-control data will be routed between the locomotive and dispatcher through Meteor Communications Corp.'s digital radio-communications network, and display moving maps, grade, curvature, wayside device location and braking distance to crew members. Using a Global Positioning System, an onboard computer is designed to alert workers to approaching restrictions and stop a train if a crew fails to appropriately respond.

"We are excited about the safety and efficiency gains available with the collision-avoidance system," said ARRC Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Matthew Glynn in a prepared statement.

Quantum Engineering officials expect to complete installation sometime next year after meeting Federal Railroad Administration requirements per a proposed rulemaking.

"Alaska Railroad will be the first North American railroad to employ, in revenue service … our [PTC] system that has been tested for over four years in North and South America," said Quantum Engineering President Mark Kane.



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