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Positive Train Control Through Iridium Helps Prevent Rail Collisions

Positive Train Control Through
Iridium Helps Prevent Rail Collisions #

Positive Train Control

Overview #

Positive Train Control systems designed to prevent collisions rely primarily on radio communications, but safety and regulatory compliance require solutions when radio communications are not available.

Iridium third party partners developed an end-to-end solution to provide an Iridium Connected PTC system, as well as voice, data, GPS, and SMS services.

The Iridium Connected system not only met regulatory standards, but also reduced costs, provided clearer connections, and improved communication between operators.

Positive Train Control #

Iridium partners worked with Iridium engineers to develop the MCG-101, an end-to-end solution for rail operators and PTC providers. The unit provides PTC data transmission through Iridium’s Short Burst Data (SBD) service, which allows key information regarding location, speed, and system behavior to be transmitted to administrators who can send alerts directly to train operators.

In addition to PTC services, the third party unit provides phone, Internet, GPS, and SMS services over the Iridium network, ensuring a robust secondary communications system when radio communications are unavailable, while providing superior call quality.

The Impact #

What began as a regulatory hurdle, became a broader opportunity for rail operators and PTC providers to upgrade their systems. The MCG-101 meets government requirements, while also providing faster, clearer connections even in remote areas or in disaster situations.

These improvements in communication and tracking ultimately lower operational costs for operators as they can be more precise about delivery and departure times, and improves safety as data is transmitted more consistently.

References #

Iridium helps prevent rail collisions with positive train control. (2021, September 22). Retrieved November 25, 2021, from

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