WILMERDING, PA, January 10, 2007 - Wabtec Corporation (NYSE: WAB) said the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has approved a Product Safety Plan that will allow BNSF Railway Company to begin implementing Wabtec's Electronic Train Management System(TM) (ETMS(TM)) on portions of BNSF's network. The approval is the first provided by the FRA for a train control system under recently revised federal regulations.
In announcing the approval, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph H. Boardman said, "This is a major achievement that marks the beginning of a new era of rail safety."
BNSF began an ETMS pilot program in 2004, after Wabtec installed ETMS equipment on 50 locomotives to be used in a 135-mile corridor between Beardstown and Centralia, Ill. Since then, BNSF has operated more than 2,000 revenue-service trips with these locomotives, and ETMS passed every test. In May 2006, BNSF received permission from the FRA to test ETMS on a 300-mile corridor between Kansas and Texas. BNSF said this implementation will begin in the second quarter of 2007.
"ETMS is the first approved automatic train control system that prevents train collisions and over-speed accidents, meeting the criteria of one of the National Transportation Safety Board's most wanted list," said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The ETMS pilot project that we have operated on our Beardstown subdivision in Illinois, in full cooperation with FRA, was instrumental in proving the value and safety of this technology."
FRA's approval of the Product Safety Plan came with some conditions, primarily related to record keeping, operations testing and reporting. Once these conditions are met, BNSF will be in position to begin implementation of ETMS to other areas of its network.
"We're excited to see the industry take further steps to implement ETMS, and we're pleased to play an important role in the process," said Albert J. Neupaver, Wabtec's president and chief executive officer. "Throughout its history, Wabtec has been a technology leader in the rail industry. Our contributions to train control are the latest example of how we are helping to improve the safety, productivity and efficiency of the industry, which we believe is positioned for sustained growth worldwide."
With ETMS, movement-related information, such as authority limits, speed limits, signal aspects and work zones are passed through a digital communications network and displayed on a computer screen inside the locomotive cab. The onboard computer, with location information provided via the global positioning system, will automatically initiate enforcement braking if the engineer fails to respond appropriately to movement and speed limit information. In addition, the onboard display includes a moving map detailing grade, curvature and track topology.
With locations in Germantown, Md. and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wabtec Railway Electronics is a leader in the development and manufacture of electronic train control equipment and system solutions for the rail industry. Wabtec Corporation is a global provider of value-added, technology-based products and services for the rail industry.
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