Safety Advisory 2023-03 regarding Accident Mitigation and Train Length

Rushi Patel, PS Technology CEO and PresidentPST knows that maintaining a high level of safety for the communities we transit through is crucial in the railroad industry.  As we move towards a rail technological future, we need to consider ways to mitigate risks.

The FRA has issued a Safety Advisory 2023-03 regarding Accident Mitigation and Train Length. Although it is not legislation, it is a signal of what is to come. Railroad operators should pay close attention to the intent and implications of this advisory. The Safety Advisory suggests that long trains pose risks, but modern technology can mitigate these risks.

PS Technology has a solution called Precision Train Builder (PTB) that can analyze any train consist prior to its run and make speed and safety recommendations. This computer-based technology harnesses the physics associated with trains and train operation. In essence, PTB simulates trains and their operations over hundreds of miles of track compressed into minutes in an effort to identify excessive buff or draft forces within the train.

Precision Train Builder (PTB) in action at Union Pacific Railroad. UP runs every train consist through PTB prior to departure. Safety Advisory 2023-03 regarding Accident Mitigation and Train LengthPTB accurately identifies not only where to place rail cars within a train, but how much “power” – i.e., locomotives – to use, and where to place that power within the train for the most efficient and safe operation. Simulations also are designed to rerun at lower speeds to see if a lower train speed will reduce forces to an acceptable level. For example, some simulations have shown that a speed reduction from 50 mph to 40 mph can reduce in-train forces by up to 40%.

PTB is used by multiple railroads and is proven in the field to improve the safety of long trains. We would love to talk to you about it and share what kinds of successes the users of PTB are seeing.

~Rushi Patel


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