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“Teddy Bears” Revisited Again

Throughout 2010 I introduced a series of “Teddy Bear” (TB) postings on this blog. TBs are the perspectives of railroad management, regulators, and suppliers that provide them comfort in thinking that what they are doing is appropriate. However, the truth can be quite different when addressed objectively by those not financially or organizationally compromised by being objective, e.g., an independent consultant.
TBs that were addressed then included the following:
• No Time For Strategy (November 2010)
• Train Dispatching is Too Difficult for That Math Stuff (August 2010);
• Digital Authorities are Vital (July 2010);
• PTC is Vital (June 2010);
• Operating a Railroad Safely Requires Signaling (June 2010);
• There’s Nothing Vital in Dark Territory (May 2010);
• PTC Delivers Business Benefits (May 2010);
• We Run a Scheduled Railroad (May 2010);
• CAD Delivers Traffic Management (October 2010).
Since then, additional postings have gone into further depth for several of the TBs with additional issues identified without the TB notation, including the following:
• Real time data is the Real Thing for structuring technology solutions;
• My railroad can run to schedule without consideration of other railroads;
• The railroad environment is unique and therefore requires unique technology solutions. Hence the railroads’ technicians must do the design;
• Only traditional suppliers can possibly understand railroad operations;
• It’s all about the main line – yards operations are secondary;
• Regulators must only accept “zero-tolerance” for operational risk;
• The Service Design folks can’t deal with all the exceptions that occur;
• Our railroad’s IT architecture is perfectly okay in that it has evolved over 50 years;
• In just a couple years it will be somebody else’s problem.
Sooooooooo! Postings to follow this one will hit the TB trail again in that there have been, and have not been, major changes in the technologies and the mind sets of railroad and supplier management, respectively. This is such a fertile field for discussion, that I am pressed as to where to start. I see some mixture of the following perspectives:

• Practical Technology Solutions;
• Railroads Individually vs. Collectively (Industry Perspective);
• Suppliers, Domestic and International;
• Customer;
• Regulatory;
• International Rail Operations;
• The Application of Mathematics.

Stay tuned, Please!

Your comments are always appreciated and best sent to comarch@aol.com for my consideration and possible response.

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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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