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 COLUMBIA, S.C., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Union Switch & Signal Inc. (US&S) and Burlington Northern Railroad (BN) (NYSE: BNI) today announced that BN has signed a contract for a US&S state-of-the-art, consolidated railroad dispatching control system to be installed in Fort Worth, Texas, by 1995.
 When fully operational, the system will be part of the most advanced dispatch facility in the U.S. rail industry, according to US&S.
 The distributed computerized system will enable BN both to manage its trains, locomotives and rolling stock more efficiently and improve customer service by integrating rail operations more closely with the new BN Customer Support Center in Fort Worth.
 The system, which uses US&S's advanced Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) software, will be part of BN's new Network Control Center. Trains will be directed automatically, with dispatchers needing to specify only the origin and destination of shipments. The system will plan the train's route, based upon its schedule and priority level, and automatically direct meets and passes of slower trains or trains traveling in opposite directions.
 Among the technical advances of BN's automated rail traffic control system are:
 -- An open system architecture, allowing BN to change or upgrade computer hardware or software at any time and to easily expand the capacity of the system;
 -- Advanced user software to enable BN operating personnel to easily update rail system data. US&S has significantly advanced its auto-routing software to provide the BN system with improved capabilities for planning and utilizing its locomotive and car fleets efficiently; and
 -- Dispatcher workstations with sophisticated graphics and on-screen computer tools will help dispatchers manage train movements in a more integrated manner. Use of X Windows and the MOTIF Graphical User Interface will allow dispatchers to execute all commands with pulldown menus and a mouse.
 BN's more than 400 dispatchers will receive simulation-based training to familiarize them with the functional operations of the new system. The principal training device will be US&S's Dispatcher Training Simulator, which also will be used in periodic measurements of dispatchers' performance.
 Headquartered in Fort Worth, BN is a leader in providing high quality rail transportation and information services. It operates the longest rail system in North America, with 25,000 miles of track reaching across 25 states and two Canadian provinces.
 For over 100 years, US&S has been a world leader in the design and manufacture of state-of-the-art signaling and control products and systems for railroads and rail transit operations. US&S maintains its systems operations, engineering and research and development in Pittsburgh; its components operations and service, training and distribution in Batesburg, S.C.; and its headquarters in Columbia. US&S serves as the nucleus of the North American operations of its parent company, Ansaldo Trasporti, of Naples, Italy, which is part of the Ansaldo Group of Genoa, Italy. Ansaldo is an international producer of transportation, energy and industrial systems and employs 21,000 people worldwide.
 -0- 7/30/93
 /EDITORS: Following is a fact sheet:
 Network Control Center
 The Project
 Union Switch & Signal will design and install a consolidated railroad dispatching control system for Burlington Northern in Fort Worth. It will help the BN to supervise and operate, with a high degree of automation, its entire railroad system, the nation's largest at nearly 25,000 miles.
 The Technology
 The system represents the state of the art in automated rail traffic control, utilizing Union Switch & Signal's advanced Computer Aided Dispatching software. When fully operational, the system will be the heart of the most advanced rail traffic management facility in the world.
 Some technology and operational highlights include:
 -- Advanced auto-routing software that allows the BN to efficiently schedule and plan its fleet utilization;
 -- Automatic meets and passes, providing the most effective traffic movement possible by remotely controlling switches and signals;
 -- An open system architecture, allowing the BN to upgrade or change its computer hardware and software at any time, and expand the capacity of the system;
 -- Sophisticated graphics and on-screen computer tools to help supervise, manage and optimize train movements;
 -- Advanced user software allowing BN to easily update rail system configuration data; and
 -- Simulation training for dispatchers on the new system.
 These capabilities will allow more than 70 dispatchers and supervisors, working in around-the-clock shifts, to control more than 1,200 trains per day.
 Implications for the Rail Transportation Industry
 Upon completion of the BN Network Control Center, over half of all North American freight rail territory will be controlled by Union Switch & Signal systems. US&S pioneered the centralized dispatching operations concept and technology, and is the rail transportation industry's (freight, passenger and urban transit) leading provider of advanced train control systems.
 In 1988 and 1989, US&S supplied first-of-their-kind centralized dispatch offices for the CSX and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. These offices allowed the supervision and control of an entire railroad system, some of which (BN, CSX, UP) are larger than those of entire countries. US&S is also installing an integrated intermodal operations control center for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The MBTA center will control not only rail traffic, but bus traffic as well, allowing for the most efficient utilization of the MBTA's fleet. It too will be the first of its kind./
 /CONTACT: Emilio Ruocco of Union Switch & Signal, 803-929-1200, or Roger Campbell of Burlington Northern, 817-878-7044/

CO: Union Switch & Signal Inc.; Burlington Northern Railroad ST: South Carolina, Texas IN: TRN CPR SU: CON

CD-KC -- PG007 -- 7742 07/30/93 12:25 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 30, 1993

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