Venture to Improve Rail Car Tracking

Norfolk Southern has joined with GATX Corporation, short liner operators Genesee & Wyoming and Watco, and Trinity Rail to create a technology platform that they say will help transform rail shipping.

In a news release, the companies said the newly-formed Rail Pulse will facilitate and accelerate the adoption of GPS and other telematics technology across the North American rail-car fleet.

Funding for the venture came from the Federal Railroad Administration, the state of Pennsylvania, and from the venture members, who collectively own nearly 20 percent of the North American rail car fleet.

They said in the news release that Rail Pulse seeks to improve safety by incorporating hand brake and impact data.

Rail Pulse also seeks to increase rail’s competitiveness relative to other modes by improving visibility into rail-car status, location and condition, which can contribute to rail-industry growth, they said.

Telematics capabilities will include data capture to support real-time track-level visibility, whether doors or hatches are open, whether the car is loaded or partially loaded, and other key performance metrics.

The venture offers a neutral, open-architecture, industry-wide rail-car telematics platform to make it easier to shop by rail and track rail shipments while ensuring the safety and security of proprietary car-owner data, the news release said..

Development of Rail Pulse partners will begin later this year and full implementation expected by the end of 2022.

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