Maximising the Motion of Rail

Maximising the Motion of Rail
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Rajant Corporation

Maximising the Motion of Rail with Wireless Networks

  • This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 3 2022.

America’s freight railroads are the most cost­-effective in the world. Accounting for more than  any other mode of transportation, freight rail transports around 40% of U.S. long­-distance ton-­miles. Class I railroads account for about 68% of freight rail mileage. A third of US exports are moved by rail, and intermodal railyards play a pivotal role. An intermodal railyard is a transportation facility for rail operations where cargo is transferred to and from the train. It is paramount that railyard operators have access to unfailing and robust communications  at all times. Operators require a wireless network that seamlessly supports next-­generation applications and services while delivering increased safety and productivity.

The railyard plays a considerable part in ensuring essential cargo and goods are delivered  on time. Railyard operators are recognising the safety and security gains that real­time  vehicle-­to-­vehicle (V2V) communications can provide. The benefits of integrating innovative  rail applications for automation, real­time tracking, and greater control can be realised by utilising the correct wireless network.

Robust Environments Require Strong Connections

The complicated operation and dynamic environment of freight railyards require reliable access to real­time data to run smoothly. Intermodal railyards are facilities where the transfer of containers is performed between freight trains, and railcars are stored and maintained.  This means that all assets such as cargo, people and vehicles are constantly on the move.

Intermodal yards often introduce heavy equipment among their existing rugged environment to increase speed and efficiency. Vehicle locations, the dynamic nature of stacked  containers and trains coming in and out of the yard all add to the challenge of achieving  constant connectivity. Railyard managers are aware that traditional wireless networks, such  as Wi­Fi Mesh, Point­to­Multipoint, and LTE, will not offer the robustness, reliability, or high  availability needed to run these new applications effectively. These networks operate from  fixed infrastructure and must break connectivity for handoffs.

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Rajant’s wireless broadband network enables constant communication between train and wayside and within the dynamic environments of ever-moving railyards.

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