Imagine if roadside sensors could warn you before one of your tires suffers a blowout, preventing an accident. While that technology is still a fantasy for drivers, Union Pacific Railroad has been using a similar technology to prevent train derailments for years.
Railroad ties are literally the foundation on which railroads are built. Union Pacific annually replaces between 3 million and 4 million railroad ties. Now a new system is doubling the number of railroad ties that can be disposed of per day, to nearly 5,000.
When the first train traveled across the last segment of Union Pacific track to be transitioned to Positive Train Control (PTC) earlier this month, it represented millions of hours of work from more than a thousand employees across 17,000 route miles of track, all in an effort to enhance safety.