Introduction to Strategic Railroading

Strategic Railroading™

Since their introduction nearly a century ago, the deeply-rooted operating practices of railroads have normally been adequate in servicing the traffic requirements of the railroads. But, in times of heavy demand, those practices are not sufficient to provide the necessary capacity.

The traditional means to meet high demands is to increase the raw capacity via significant capital investments in infrastructure, rolling stock, and locomotives. Improving the effective capacity, i.e. the boundary placed upon the raw capacity by the operating practices, has not been a consideration. However, with the substantial advancements in technologies in the past decade, railroads can now increase their effective capacity in selected corridors without investment in raw capacity. But, it takes an operations strategy in sync with a technology strategy.

It takes Strategic Railroading.

The phrase Strategic Railroading may seem a bit oxymoronic. After all, the rail industry is a very traditional one with its primary operation practices and processes having not changed since the 1st qtr. of the last century. This is so because the set of the 3 core operational technologies, the core technology infrastructure if you will, has not changed, i.e.,

  1. Positioning: track circuits
  2. Communications: voice & signals
  3. Intelligence: dispatchers using non-intelligent Computer Assisted Dispatching platforms (CAD)

Indeed, a railroad’s operational practices and processes based upon these technologies are well established as are the associated business practices and processes including customer service, fueling, maintenance, and the interchange of trains between railroads.

The railroads have yet to make the quantum transition from traditional technologies and operations to those advance capabilities afforded by having timely resource data
being used by advanced planning and execution tools. Additionally, the railroads
have yet to look beyond their own borders to take an industry perspective that benefits all. To make such transitions will require technologists and a reality that wireless data infrastructure, with or without the pursuit of PTC, provides the means to make such advancements. At this point without such understanding, the railroads are destined to spend extraordinary amounts of capital on raw infrastructure, including parallel wireless platforms, while realizing only a small portion of the business benefits that could be achieved via Strategic Railroading.

To learn more about Strategic Railroading – download our brochure.
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6 Responses to “Introduction to Strategic Railroading”
  • Ibrahim:

    I can think of a few countries that could really use Strategic Railroading

  • Ahmed:

    I live in a Middle Eastern country and given the number of accidents our national railroad has had, I wish someone would come to their sense and adopt some of these practices.

  • That’s funny. I worked for a Class 1 for years, and then a commuter railroad for years, and I used some and many of the principles of strategic railroading every day. Every day.

    And the other officers on the railroad. They were more or less resistant, until… until things were really screwed up and we actually needed to schedule and integrate every aspect of the operation to get out of the big hole we were in, and then there was general agreement.

  • […] operations. The reason for the latter is explained by the fact that most railroads lack both the Strategic Railroading perspective and the necessary resources, Technologists, to develop and deploy such a […]

  • […] to take a proactive position to break away from traditional railroading and make the transition to strategic railroading, i.e. syncing a strategic operations perspective with a strategic technology plan. The reasons […]

  • […] to advance railroad operations . . . essentially, the technology that is required to pursue Strategic Railroading. Each posting addresses one of the three core technologies that together comprise the core […]

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Strategic Railroading™
Given recent tech advances there is now an unprecedented opportunity to advance railroad operations and the integration of high speed rail with freight. Real-time traffic management and communication is possible without significant development and deployment costs, but it will take a technology strategy working hand-in-hand with an operational strategy, it will take Strategic Railroading.™
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Full Spectrum is a quarterly railroading journal authored by Mr. Ron Lindsey. The majority of executives in the US railroad industry, including top members of the FRA and the major railroads, have subscribed to Full Spectrum for the past fifteen years.

Full Spectrum subscriptions are available by contacting Ron via email. If you are concerned with staying abreast of the newest advances in rail technology or operations strategy, it is highly recommended you subscribe in order to maintain your competitive advantage.

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