3 Ways Yard Management for Rail is More than Keeping Things on Track

From safety to maintenance to planning, automating the yard has huge benefits to your agency

If you’d like to learn more about Yard Management for Rail, listen our conversation on Inside Vontas:

Automated Yard Management for Rail is more than keeping things on track with Hans Habenichet

Automated Yard Management (YM) is an essential part running your bus depot efficiently. Buses are routed to the right lanes as they pull in. People walk the yard less locating buses and checking their status, because there is an up-to-the-minute map of the yard. Maintenance, planning, and dispatch workflows are automatically triggered saving re-work and errors.

But what about the rail yard? Can automated Yard Management make keeping the trains running on time easier and safer?

Rail yards—like bus depots—are busy places with trains coming, going, and moving around all the time. The yard-walk and map done before the service day won’t be accurate once the day starts. When people have to wander the yard and hunt for trains, they waste time, effort, and risk their safety.

Here are three reasons why YM is more than just knowing where cars are in the yard.

Safety in and around the yard

Both bus and rail yards are dangerous places to work. Having people walk the rail yard several times a day—sometimes at night—means people need to walk around near-silent vehicles and lethal high voltage rails and catenary wires. Even with additional safety measures—like a ban on handheld devices like tablets or smartphones—accidents happen.

YM increases safety around the yard by:

  • Eliminating the need to walk the yard counting and locating cars and engines.
  • Giving employees up-to-date yard maps so they aren’t wandering through the yard looking for cars and engines.
  • Reducing the need to move and shuffle cars and engines because they are moved intelligently to the right place for service or maintenance.

The less people have to be out in the yard and the faster people can get to the right place without wandering the safer the yard is.

Service Planning and operational efficiencies

Dispatch and control know which trains are ready for service and which aren’t. If they need to switch things around, all the information is on hand, including updates about maintenance from EAM, operator availability from WM, and where all the trains are in the yard. Instead of relying on an hours-old yard map to find cars and move them into position, dispatch knows where everything is so cars can be moved efficiently and quickly. Without automatic Yard Management, someone could go out into the yard to move a train and find it’s not there or been flagged for maintenance or blocked in by another car that wasn’t there hours before.

All of these issues mean delays, or worse, people rushing to get cars into position to keep to the schedule. When people are forced to rush, they make mistakes, and in the rail yard, mistakes can be costly and deadly.

Automated Yard Management lets people focus on their job and get it done as quickly and safely as possible.

Maintenance, workflows, and integrating operations

Yard Management integrates with EAM, WM, ITS, dispatch, your entire rail operations. Automatically trigger workflows from other systems. If a work order is created in the shop for preventative maintenance, operations knows an incoming train needs to be shunted to the maintenance track and operators know where their train is headed. At a glance you, you know what trains are ready for service and can monitor the status of trains in maintenance to adjust and shuffle trains as needed. Operators and conductors know exactly where their train is and that it’s ready to pull out. Information about which direction the “A” and “B” ends are facings and which cars are part of a “train” or “consist” can be integrated and incorporated into the display.

As you need to adjust throughout the day, YM lets operators know there’s been a switch, maintenance can pull a train from service, and no one is left guessing.

Learn more about Yard Management for Rail

Automatic Yard Management has helped fixed route operations run more efficiently and safely for years, now Vontas OnSite for Yard Management has come to the rail yard. Deploying Yard Management means you can count on your train being where they should be, ready to go, and on track for another service day.

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