Taking an age-old mode of transportation and giving it a boost of 21st Century technology, that’s what GE’s RailEdge Movement Planner does for freight rail travel. It’s essentially a breakthrough software system that serves as an air traffic control system for freight rail. It helps railroads take into account train schedules, traffic control systems and train movements relative to each other and comes up with an optimized traffic plan for the trains, even down to the best speed at which to travel to keep the flow going throughout the railroad. Norfolk Southern and GE Transportation today announced the success of the new technology, which as described in the video below, has already been rolled out along a 200-mile stretch in Georgia. The efficiency gains from RailEdge can increase the average speed of trains by 10 to 20 percent, which translates into as much as four miles per hour. In the world of freight rail, that’s a whopping amount when you consider that every mile per hour faster a freight train travels, a railroad can save up to $200 million a year in capital and expenses.
“This technology increases the capacity of railways worldwide without laying a single new track,” Lorenzo Simonelli, GE Transportation President and CEO, explains. “RailEdge optimizes the railroad resources that are already in place — something that only technology can truly help us achieve.” For example, a railroad running 20 trains a day between New York and Washington, DC could increase that to 23 trains a day with RailEdge simply by better utilizing the existing track more productively.
Following the success of the initial rollout, Norfolk Southern now has plans to use it along its entire 22 state network. The small gains in routing and speed for Norfolk Southern trains add up to “sizeable efficiency gains on a 2,500-train per day, 21,000-route mile system like ours,” Wick Moorman, CEO of Norfolk Southern, said. “With railroads, it’s about scale… When we make the best use of existing transportation infrastructure, that’s a competitive advantage for our customers and the country.”
RailEdge also improves railroad crew management availability. It’s the latest example of how GE’s $4 billion-a-year software and solutions services businesses are helping customers improve productivity.
|Track star: Without movement planner, a freight train leaving Louisville, KY would arrive in Macon, GA in about 27 hours. With Movement Planner, that same train would arrive in 22.5 hours. Saving more than 4 hours of travel.|
Watch CNBC’s interview this morning with Lorenzo Simonelli and Wick Moorman:
* Read today’s announcement
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* Read “GE’s fuel ‘autopilot’ software set for 200 locomotives” on GE Reports
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