29 Mar '16, 8pm

Electronically controlled railway brakes may displace a 150-year-old technology

Electronically controlled railway brakes may displace a 150-year-old technology

Who would pay for the transformation, and who would reap the rewards? Hundreds of operating companies own elements of the U.S. freight car fleet, and half the fleet is owned not by railroads but by utilities and giant finance companies that lease them to shippers and railroads. Car owners, complaining that railroads will derive a disproportionate benefit from new technology, want a subsidy of some sort. Railroads, for their part, have a lot of competing needs for scarce capital investment—an AAR report released last year calls for $148 billion over 30 years for “new tracks, signals, bridges, tunnels, terminals, and service facilities.” Saddled with a hard sell in the United States, the ECP manufacturers gamely turned their attention to other markets. In 1998 New York Air Brake outfitted a single train in Quebec’s far northeast for Quebec Cartier Mining, which hauls ore on ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/transportation/mass-transit/stop...

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