Chicago, IL –Chicago Rail Link, LLC (CRL), a managed affiliate of OmniTRAX, Inc., one of the largest privately held transportation service companies in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, is presenting a new and innovative grade crossing pilot project during the safety session of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials Standing Committee on Rail Transportation Annual Meeting at the at the W City Center Hotel here today. Dave Arganbright, Vice President of Government Affairs for OmniTRAX, is leading the presentation, which will review the first such test of this technology in North America.
“This is another example of OmniTRAX’s innovative leveraging of technology to improve the safety of our operations,” said Sergio Sabatini, Chief Operating Officer for OmniTRAX.
The CRL, a 72-mile short line railroad located on the Southside of Chicago, maintains a local grade crossing where industrial, weather and drainage conditions no longer support traditional track circuits for its signal system. To remedy the situation, the CRL has procured a new grade crossing train detection system from Next Generation Rail Technologies S.L (NGRT) that utilizes sound and vibration to detect oncoming trains. The novel technology does not rely on traditional track circuits that can be falsely triggered and will also be used to count axles and detect flat wheels that may prevent future derailments. The CRL is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to submit an Informational Filing to operate the system in a shadow mode during the trial with the goal of obtaining Product Safety Plan certification for the system to be used permanently in revenue service.
“We are excited to begin testing this promising technology on one of the most challenging crossings in our network,” said Arganbright. “The potential industrywide benefits from a successful pilot of NGRT’s detection system are limitless. This technology could enhance worker safety, detect broken rails, count axles and allow railroads to more efficiently spend their capital budgets.”
The potential safety benefits of this detection technology have drawn notice from local officials. The local community has previously raised CRL’s grade crossing as a traffic and safety issue and is excited about the technology’s local and potential for city and nationwide adoption.
“I am pleased to see the Chicago Rail Link and OmniTRAX commitment to safety in our area,” said Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th Ward. “Chicago is the busiest rail hub in the United States and it is critical for railroads to invest in initiatives that enhance safety. I look forward to working with OmniTRAX to ensure the safety of our local community and promote initiatives that enhance rail safety across the Chicagoland area.”