RBM&N Installing Locomotive Event Recorders, Plans to Boost Trains Speeds Above 25 MPH

Faster track speeds on the Pennsylvania-based Reading Blue Mountain & Northern will require the road to comply with a Federal Railroad Administration standard that at least one locomotive of a train be equipped with an event recorder.

PennsylvaniaThe RRM&N has about 320 miles of track at which trains can run at speeds of more than 30 mph.

The railroad recently installed the event recorders in a pair of its EMD SD50s at a cost of $12,000 per locomotive.

Railroad CEO Andy Muller said the company is still determining which of the other 40 locomotives that it owns will receive event recorders.

FRA rules require that the event recorders keep track for 48 hours of the train speed, selected direction of motion, time, distance, throttle position, and the applications and operations of the automatic and independent brakes. The event recorder does not necessarily need to be in the lead unit.

RBM&N plans to operate trains with a unit having a working event recorder at speeds of 40 to 50 mph.

“When you’re running through schedule freights from Reading to Scranton you can’t run 25 mph,” Muller said.

Muller said the RBM&N has track good for 40-50 mph operation and is adding more CTC-controlled territory, but train speeds were previously held to 25 mph.

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