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(Source: Associated Press, November 1, 2023)

The automatic braking system railroads were required to install several years ago needs improvement to better prevent collisions, federal safety investigators said in a report Wednesday. The National Transportation Safety Board said there are several shortcomings of the current railroad braking system that developed partly because the system had to be designed so that every railroad’s system would work on another railroad. Locomotives are often passed back and forth between railroads to help keep trains moving. One of the more practical recommendations the board made was for railroads to develop a way to automatically turn the automatic braking system back on after it is manually disabled to allow for common switching movements that involve backing a train onto the main line through a red signal. The system also has a hard time preventing rear-end collisions, partly because it isn’t set up to track how long a train is and doesn’t know where the back of a train is. The board recommended that the Federal Railroad Administration and railroads keep looking for a solution to this using a GPS sensor at the end of a train.

Full story: Associated Press