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Moving Rail Forward: The Power of 1%

We know freight rail is one of the most effective ways to transport goods. Today’s railways are incredibly fuel-efficient, transporting more than one ton of goods approximately 800 kilometers on a 3.7 liters of fuel. The industry is continuing to see a high level of support with capital investment at $20 billion, a record level. But current success does not mean there isn’t opportunity to push the industry even further.

Rail costs are significantly impacted by a number of factors with a number of moving pieces. Bad weather, breakdowns, and unscheduled maintenance can create major snags throughout an entire rail network system. At GE Transportation, we are looking to provide data-based innovations to the railway sector that will improve productivity, reliability, velocity and safety. These improvements bring tremendous cost savings and a good demonstration of this is that by improving an operating ratio by just 1%, a Class I railway could see a savings of $800 million.

This is one of the reasons we refer to the “Power of 1%” when we talk with our customers about the business value data can provide. Moreover, our belief in the importance of data for the   sector is reflected in our commitment to Rail Connect 360, a brand of solutions to provide railways data-driven insights to achieve strategic business outcomes. RailConnect 360 uses its own operations system, the Rail Operations System (rOS), to connect our solutions across the entire rail enterprise and offer a configurable systems-level solution to address complex needs.

All of this is part of GE’s effort to ensure our customers are fully utilizing what we have termed as the Industrial Internet. The Industrial Internet is essentially defined as networked industrial machines providing multiple data points in real-time through embedded sensors with advanced analytics tools. GE is committed to being a leader in this space and as a result, Predix, GE’s propriety platform, powers our Rail Operations System.  Predix enables asset performance management (APM) and operations optimization by providing a standard way to run industrial-scale analytics and connect machines, data, and people. Deployed on machines, on-premise, or in the cloud, Predix combines an industry-leading stack of technologies for distributed computing and big data analytics, asset data management, machine-to-machine communication, and mobility.

With RailConnect 360, we will be able to provide the necessary data to create a better, more-informed decision-making process. Big data has jumpstarted a revolution across multiple business sectors and GE Transportation is dedicated to ensuring that our railway customers are onboard. 

-Peter Thomas, Commercial Leader for RailConnect 360


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