Advanced technology systems, data networks and telecommunications manage the flow of tens of thousands of carloads and goods containers each day across the nation, across borders and across oceans.
Rail was one of the first and most computerized, networked industries. Automation helped Rail reduce expenses in track and equipment maintenance, in crew management and in train dispatching. Electronic data interchange made possible computer-to-computer information transfers between individual railways and major customers. More than six million messages a day, for example, are switched over a dedicated network or Internet between members of the North American railway industry's RAILINC.
Internet applications allow customers to request prices, order and trace cars, request plant switches, check bills and perform various other functions in real-time. With such technology, customers can forecast car orders and shipments based on when their products come off the production line. Customers are able to schedule plant production runs based on predictable delivery times that Rail meets.
Rail has deployed computer-based tools to manage operations, from crew assignments and asset utilization, to the planning the movements of cars. This includes switching instructions, automated customer orders and the ability for customers to confirm the status of their shipments, on-line.
Rail depends on advanced communications technology and systems that are coherent. Reliable radio, centralized train control, phone, data services and the underlying transport networks for all services is required to deliver predictable service for Rail customers.
Industry Canada streamlined its radio licensing process for Canada's railways on April 1, 2000 and issued one license to the RAC for the radio spectrum used to manage and operate the nation's freight and passenger railways.
Radio is used for train control, yard operations, maintenance of way, police, automatic equipment identification, end of train units, hot wheel bearing detectors and mid-train locomotives used on unit coal trains.