NORFOLK SOUTHERN and BNSF announced jointly on March 29 that they plan to start revenue service trials later this year using electronically-controlled pneumatic brake systems.

The move follows the issuing of an FRA waiver allowing ECP-equipped trainsets to run 5 600 km between inspections, which is twice the distance permitted for freight trains with conventional airbrakes.

FRA Administrator Joseph H Boardman said that 'it is time for the railroad industry to embrace new train braking technology', indicating that FRA was looking to introduce new rules later this year that would promote widespread adoption of ECP.NS will fit ECP to 30 locomotives and 400 rapid-discharge wagons used in dedicated coal train service.

BNSF plans to conduct its trials on intermodal services to and from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.