Freight Railroads Are Being Transformed by the Digital Revolution - WSJ.com

The digital revolution is coming to freight rail. Major railroads are installing digital communications, global positioning receivers, sensors and computerized controls on their trains and tracks. New systems can gather intelligence on locations, size and speeds of trains and make automated decisions about when the trains should stop or go. Digital cameras and microphones on the tracks are working on monitoring train conditions to determine when equipment needs to enter a shop for maintenance.

Population growth and urbanization are driving an unprecedented demand for modernized rail systems, and governments and businesses worldwide recognize that railroads play a critical role in supporting economic growth. By bringing together leading industry experts and advanced technologies, we can help rail providers increase rail capacity, efficiency, safety, and customer service – resulting in networks of smarter rail systems around the world. - Keith Dierkx, director of the IBM center.

IBM opened a new Global Rail Innovation Center that will bring together the world’s foremost industry leaders, researchers and universities to advance next-generation rail systems.  Founding members of the Center’s Advisory Board include leading representatives and organizations in the railroad community including Judge Quentin L. Kopp, chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority, Michigan Technological University, Motorola, Railinc, RMI, Sabre, Tsinghua University, and Professor Joseph M. Sussman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Building a Smarter Rail System (via IBMSocialMedia)

The global rail industry in 2009 and beyond will struggle to meet the increasing demand for freight and passenger transportation, while aging systems and infrastructure complicate the problem. However, rail companies around the world are starting to apply new technologies that will help them build high-speed rail systems that more efficiently move people, are more cost effective, and make more intelligent use of all rail assets, from tracks to trains. IBM is already working with railroads to build these smarter systems around the world.

Quote from Keith Dierkx, Director, IBM Global Rail Programs found at IBM Study Highlights Exploding Demand for Smarter, Faster Rail Systems
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is using IBM software to manage maintenance and logistics for the revolutionary high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan.  The express trains are capable of traveling at up to 186 miles per hour (300 km/hr) meaning travel between Taipei City and Kaohsiung City is only roughly 90 minutes as opposed to the 4.5 hours by conventional rail.
A large portion of what makes a successful network is its computer technology, according to IBM, which is angling for government business in transportation and rail. (via IBM hops aboard high-speed rail  CNET News)

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation (THSRC) is using IBM software to manage maintenance and logistics for the revolutionary high-speed rail network that runs along the west coast of Taiwan.  The express trains are capable of traveling at up to 186 miles per hour (300 km/hr) meaning travel between Taipei City and Kaohsiung City is only roughly 90 minutes as opposed to the 4.5 hours by conventional rail.

A large portion of what makes a successful network is its computer technology, according to IBM, which is angling for government business in transportation and rail. (via IBM hops aboard high-speed rail  CNET News)