If you couple a PTC system with proprietary train control such as General Electric's Trip Optimizer,
one-person train crews are nearer than we think.
The Quebec North Shore and Labrador has had single-person crew on their ore trains since 1995.
Once upon a time, railways caviled at the cost of air brakes. Until they realised that the cost could be amortised very quickly by increasing productivity via increased train length and car capacity. Train crew size remained the same, or perhaps lost a crew member. Tonnage and thereby productivity increased so quickly as a result of air brakes alone that railways had to improve their physical plant by WWI to handle the increased tonnage.
--- In Canadian-Passenger-Rail@yahoogroups.com, "James" <unionrouting@...> wrote:
> You can also bet that the railways would move toward single person crews on through trains on PTC territories. They would want to find some sort of saving to balance the high cost of the system.
> As to the prevention of trains passing stop signals, that is the whole idea of the system. If in place, it would have prevented the Dalehurst collision, the crossover accident in Burlington, and a couple of other collisions that have occurred. It wouldn't have prevented the collision between the oil train and the freight east of Montreal, since the cause was the derailment of one of the trains.
> Ensuring that the trains stop short of any stop signal is somewhat of a challenge, since train braking can be a bit variable. The tendency with safety systems is design things to be on the safe side, but the result from doing that is that the system will often want to apply the brakes before the locomotive engineer would normally do it. In essence, the effect will be to slow trains down, reducing capacity, plus interfere with the way the engineer would normally handle the train. They are currently wrestling with the issue on US railroads.
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