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How the Internet-of-Things is helping deliver a cloud-based PTC solution for a safer rail network.

Posted on Nov 17, 2016

How the Internet-of-Things is helping deliver a cloud-based PTC solution for a safer rail network.The benefits of Positive Train Control (PTC), the rail safety system mandated by the US Congress are well known, but so too are the challenges that the industry has experienced in its deployment. Brought in following the collision of a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train in September 2008, which caused the deaths of 25 and injuries to more than 135 passengers, PTC is a highly-advanced system that is designed to stop trains before certain types of accidents can occur. PTC is aimed at making transportation safer, but the original deadline of a full deployment by December 2015 has been missed by many rail companies. 

Railroads, particularly smaller carriers, have struggled to implement PTC due to the financial and technical burdens required to fully deploy a complete, on-premise solution, which can include large sensor networks and significant computing resources. To help meet the requirements of these railroads, Herzog Technologies, a leader in the railroad signal and communications industry, and Red Hat, a leading provider of open source solutions, have partnered for a more cost-effective, open source and cloud-based PTC offering and today offer us some insights into the offering.

The 2017 SafeRail Congress will be discussing the issues of PTC, mission critical safety on US rail networks, cybersecurity, the Internet-of-Things and much more. The event takes place in Washington D.C. on April 11-12. Click here for more information.

This partnership, announced in September 2016, uses Red Hat ( @RedHatNews ) technologies. The enterprise-grade foundation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux provides the backend to the complex Internet of Things (IoT) system required for the intelligence and dynamism expected of PTC, while Red Hat CloudForms and Red Hat Satellite help Herzog with systems management and compliance. Combined, Red Hat’s powerful open source technologies are helping Herzog provide railroads with the ability to more quickly adopt PTC technology, helping to enable safer and more efficient rail transportation.

We asked Travis Rollings, Director, Office Systems Herzog Systems how important their partners have been: “Without Red Hat, launching this solution would have been a far more complex undertaking, and we would not have been able to on-board new customers as quickly.” 

Herzog ( @HerzogTI ) chose to build its new PTC solution on a private cloud powered by Red Hat Enterprise Linux and managed by Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat CloudForms. The leading enterprise Linux platform allows for easier scaling for IoT-type network deployments and helps minimize the hosting footprint in Herzog’s datacenter, thanks to the flexible, stable foundation that it provides. Red Hat CloudForms, an award-winning open hybrid cloud management platform, has helped Herzog transform their existing virtualized infrastructure into a private cloud, through its on-demand scaling functionality. Red Hat Satellite helps Herzog maintain greater platform security and compliance with various regulatory standards, as well as manage their software lifecycle from testing through production. Herzog also worked with Red Hat Consulting to help bring their new offering to market.

With their new cloud-based PTC solution built on Red Hat technologies, Herzog has experienced:

  • The potential for more market opportunities by bringing a cloud-based PTC offering to a new customer segment, enabled by Red Hat’s experience in delivering open, flexible technologies for the rail industry.
  • Higher efficiency for Herzog’s complex, hybrid IT environment, provided by the management and automation capabilities of Red Hat CloudForms and Red Hat Satellite.
  • Improved costs thanks to the open source nature of Red Hat’s solutions (hosted solutions for rail) via intelligent IoT networks.

Jim Totton, vice president and general manager, Platforms Business Unit, Red Hat concludes with a view of the partnership: “Our work with Herzog shows how Red Hat helps organizations across industries move to the hybrid cloud and embrace an IT environment that can drive real business value and results while remaining dynamic, highly scalable and more secure. By basing its cloud-based PTC solution on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and our hybrid management technologies, Herzog can deliver the mission-critical reliability and flexibility needed to drive the sophisticated, intelligent networks to help modern railways enhance safety and transportation efficiency.”   

Read the Rail and Metro Innovation Guide 2017


For more rail technology and PTC stories like this... 

Expert View: Integration and alignment of PTC track data with legacy dispatch data.

Digital Guide: Building the Digital Transport Network of the Future

PTC implementation: separating the facts from the myths.

White Paper:  Advancing transit system security: IOT enabled COTS platforms for intelligent, data driven video surveillance.

Project Focus: Caltrain’s Advanced Signal System Project - CBOSS PTC.

Topics: IT and WiFi, Signalling

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Luke Upton
Luke Upton
Luke has edited this site since its launch and previously worked for b2b media companies across industries including energy, advertising and sport. His role includes writing, editing and commissioning...read more
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