Video Cameras Give UP Road Locomotives Eyes, Ears

Union Pacific Railroad will install more than 1,600 Track Image Recorders (TIRs) in the cabs of over-the-road locomotives this year to digitally record a view of the track, crossings, and signals directly in front of moving trains. Nearly all of the railroad's 6,000 road locomotives will have them by the end of this year, the company announced this week.

"Installation of TIR equipment is another step in Union Pacific's commitment to employee and public safety," said Bob Grimaila, vice president-safety and environment. "This equipment is a valuable tool in assisting with the investigations of pedestrian or grade-crossing incidents."

UP began installing TIRs in 2005 and has them on more than 4,000 locomotives this far. More than 85 percent of its road freight trains now have a TIR-equipped locomotive in the lead. Besides the camera, the system includes a microphone that records the locomotive's air horn and bell. The video image disk can record up to five days of information. The images and locomotive event recorder data can be synchronized to provide detailed information about what occurred prior to an incident. "Now, when a train crew gets on board a locomotive and they see a TIR camera, they know that technology is there to help us help them to have a safer trip," said Grimaila. UP operates in 23 states in the western two-thirds of the United States.

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