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Meet GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions

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Welcome to the first in a four-part series showcasing GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions. In each blog post, we will cover how our software solutions transform the rail industry from the train and locomotive to the ecosystem.

In this post, the rail ecosystem’s software solutions will be highlighted. These software solutions include ExpressYard, ShipperConnect and Yard Planner.

ExpressYard

In the rail industry, the health of railcars and locomotives is a vital aspect to railroads and railcar owners alike. As a result, certain systems have been implemented across the industry to make sure standards are met and safety protocols are properly tracked. Car repair billing is one of these systems that is essential to monitoring, maintaining and ensuring accuracy around proper car repairs and timely upkeep.

For example, Car Repair Billing Rule 83 went into effect on January 1, 2016. The new rule allows more granularity and the entry of more specific data about what is being repaired, the condition of the component – new, refurbished, remanufactured, etc. – being repaired and why the replacement or repair needs to take place. Within the rail industry, information about repairs to railcars are exchanged between parties using electronic data files. These data files have various fields that are being expanded to allow for detail to be entered and stored so that proper auditing and safety measures are met. The new rule is an important part of the digital transformation that the railroad industry has been experiencing over the past several years.

However, many repair shops and car owners are not prepared for this rule to take effect, nor can their systems handle it. This is where GE Transportation’s ExpressYard system can help alleviate this problem and solve issues around the Rule.  

ExpressYard Car Repair Billing is a software solution designed to help railcar repair organizations simplify and manage billing and maintenance operations as well as ensure regulatory compliance. With the benefit of timely data, enhanced management information and powerful decision-making tools, you can streamline and integrate your operations by better managing freight car repair billing, parts inventory, employee labor hours, early warnings and maintenance advisories for railcars.

And look how user friendly it is:

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ShipperConnect

The ShipperConnect suite of cloud-based solutions allows rail shippers to automate operations, manage inventory, and control transportation costs using modules such as Rail Track & Trace, Yard Management, Transload Management and Demurrage Management. GE Transportation sees a huge potential in leveraging digital solutions to optimize the entire rail supply chain, including railroads and rail shippers.

Powerful analytics and the development of GE’s Predix platform will allow ShipperConnect to build more powerful digital solutions to increase shipper throughput through rail yards, reduce operating costs and improve visibility throughout the entire supply chain by offering shippers a first mile, last mile view of their operations.

To learn more about ShipperConnect, watch the short video: 

Yard Planner

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Trains usually arrive carrying over 100 cars, each needing to make a connection to a block, a set of cars that have been purposely sequenced together because they share a common attribute like next destination, on a different outbound train. This is very similar to when you connect from one flight to another in a major airport, except that the railcars don’t move themselves and it is up to the yardmasters in each railyard to decide how the thousands of railcars are going to make their connections.

The classification yard, a railway yard used to separate rail cars onto different tracks, is at the heart of every rail operation and the effects of a largely manual process leads to inefficiencies in yard operations. On average, rail cars spend 40 percent to 60 percent of their time sitting idle.

This is where GE’s Yard Planner comes in. 

At the highest level, Yard Planner seeks to take the parts of the yardmaster’s job that are better suited for computer decision systems like sequencing and sorting decisions for tens of trains and thousands of cars each day and automate the majority of them.  This will allow the yardmaster to devote more of his or her time to managing the parts of the job that are better suited to humans like managing the crews working in the yard, improving safety and responding to exceptions.

Yard Planner can increase efficiencies and improve yard utilization. The Yard Planner system is a decision support system designed to aid in the planning of activities in the terminal operation of a hump classification yard. Freight railroads use Yard Planner to construct and monitor execution of a yard operating plan, and to communicate that plan and its execution status to yard personnel and to other railroad stakeholders. The solutions operate in real-time, providing manual planning tools and an automated planning engine, which produces a detailed car processing plan for efficient flow of cars through the yard. 

Think one of these solutions work for your team? Contact us at 404-355-6734 or send us an email at railconnect.support@ge.com

Check back soon for another look at the rail ecosystem featuring our solutions like Movement Planner and RailConnect TMS, RMS and EMS.

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