J.D. Lang wrote: ↑Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:56 am
Expressed otherwise, "how has the nature and scope of the industry changed so much in the past thirty years to make operating practices being implemented today that they could not have been implemented earlier"?
I think that the advancement in technology has a lot to do with it. DPU's allows longer trains to be handled better and safer. AI software can better track car movement and allow better trip planning and train makeup and routing. On board diagnostics can relay real time locomotive performance and with trip optimizing can improve fuel/wear on motive power. Just a few things that I can think of that technology can make efficient use of assets that weren't available 30 yrs. ago.
i'm pretty sure distributed power has been around, since the mid 60's. this makes the technology 55 years old, not 30. i used to watch southern railway trains headed from inman yard to greenville, with mid train helpers shoving hard through chamblee, with their radio slave boxcar coupled to the mid train dp power. i also remember the aci kartrak barcodes on the cars, from around the same time period, until the advent of the new microchipped aei tags became the norm. computers are the biggest change i've witnessed, allowing electronic transmission of data, instead of burdening crews with hundreds of copies of weighbills, to be handed off at each spot the corresponding car(s) were set out.
trip optimizers, fuel savers, etc., are junk technology. any small savings seen from these systems, are overshadowed by acquisition cost, installation, maintenance, and upgrading/replacement of failed equipment. a properly trained, and supervised engineer, can see the same "savings" the technology brings without the added costs.he's already in the cab, all he needs is the training and the motivation to do it.