IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FOR CONVERSION
TO ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL
In 2008, primarily in response to a Federal Railway Administration sponsored position paper Tom Engle authored a paper for the Spring joint meeting of the ASME and IEEE. The FRA has recommended that Electronically Controlled Pneumatic braking be installed on the US railcar fleet “at will” over a fifteen year period and bases this recommendation on its finding that “The economics of ECP is sound”
The paper takes exception with this conclusion, while agreeing that ECP should be the standard; not because of direct economic benefit, but because the operational benefits would produce a great improvement in on time performance, advance the ability to automate, and as a result of these, produce a more marketable service.
The paper, summarized in the slide show presented below, shows how to quickly convert the existing fleet of one and a half million freight cars to a dual system, capable of operating in either the present brakepipe controlled mode, or the evolving ECP mode with no manual manipulation necessary, thus avoiding the necessity to operate two non-interchangeable fleets of cars, one demonstrably safer than the other.
The paper also showed how to go about adding the electrical equipment to every car in the fleet in a way that would minimize both the cost and time required to make this conversion, and this is also given in the slide show. The estimated cost was 3 to 5 billion dollars, and the time required two years minimum.