WABTEC launched its Precision Dispatch System with an order from North American Class 1 Canadian National (CN), which Wabtec says marks a major step towards network automation for the railway.

The system is designed to move trains safely and efficiently across the network in both signalled and dark (unsignalled) areas, as well as provide full visibility of network conditions and monitor all devices on the network.

Precision Dispatch analyses data from rolling stock and wayside assets and Positive Train Control (PTC), and provides advanced automation through end-to-end electronic delivery of mandatory directives and automatic implementation of movement authorities in dark territory.

Wabtec expects the system to be operational in late 2023. After a phased rollout, there will be a total of 37 desks in CN’s control centre using Precision Dispatch software.

“CN is leading the industry in rail network optimisation as the launch customer for the Precision Dispatch System,” says Mr Nalin Jain, president of Wabtec’s Digital Electronics business. “This system is the first of its kind and acts as a command-and-control system at the heart of railroad operations. CN will be able to increase capacity, improve efficiency and safety across its more than 32,186km network.”

“Our focus is running a safe and efficient railroad, and constantly improving our infrastructure,” says CN chief information and technology officer, Mr Dominique Malenfant. “The Precision Dispatch System represents an important step forward in our network optimisation. This solution is designed to enable us to maximise the potential of our rail network and will protect the safety of employees.”