...I attended as the designated representative of the IEEE Rail Transit Vehicle Interface Standards Committee. (IEEE paid all expenses for the trip) Speakers included John Samuels, Conrail VP, Gerald Anderson of AAR, Nick Marsh of BNSF, Bob Ralph of Norfolk Southern, Bob Hulik of TTX, Roger Hawkins of GE Railcar, and John Punwani of FRA.
position at Conrail
(while it lasts) is relatively unique among the major railroads.He
is in charge of all operating assets - track, equipment, signals, communications.This gives him a fuller perspective on operational problems than most, and minimizes executive finger-pointing.Basically, it's all his
noted that the driving force behind in-train equipment monitoring was direct cost savings - no surprise there - but that the potential magnitudes of these savings are often underestimated because accountants have difficulty determining the full value of increased reliability, which may include enhanced revenue from new or retained customers.He
noted also that the typical method by which specific causes are assigned to specific train delays and service reliability problems tends to hide the true impact of equipment failures.He
used the example of a locomotive breakdown: the extent of delays due to this one breakdown obviously includes not only the time lost by the broken-down train but also the time lost by any following or opposing trains in having to wait for the broken-down train to move.Too often, 'however, these "second order delays" are recorded against "transportation" rather than "equipment."
One goal of in-train equipment monitoring is to supplement specialized wayside technologies in moving from time-based to condition-based maintenance, and FRA
is fully behind the idea.