REAL-TIME information management from the mining industry has been adapted by Modular Mining Systems to improve the planning, supervision and dispatching of trains on mine-to-port freight railways.

In January Modular Mining Systems obtained a US patent for its Integrated Railroad System, which is combined with GPS tracking of trains to form the core of its SmarTrain rail management package.

Train locations obtained from differential GPS are transmitted by radio to the control centre, along with real-time performance information. This feeds into the IRS database of schedules for all trains on the network. If a train exceeds a preset deviation from the plan, the software will use stored information on the line’s operational constraints to calculate a new schedule for each train on the network, aiming to minimise disruption while meeting the operator’s specified performance objectives. Updated schedules are then sent to each train.

The use of radio data communication links between trains and a control centre has been proven in service on CVRD’s Carajas Railroad in Brazil, where running information is displayed on touch-screen monitors in the cabs of over 80 locos on a 900 km route (RG 12.03 p802).

Modular Mining Systems, USA