Question 1: What are the advantages and disadvantages for a business such as Union Pacific and General Electric to implementing the systems? Answer 1: Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) is one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, is North America's premier railroad franchise, covering 23 states across the western two-thirds of the United States. It was 150 years ago that Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act of July 1, 1862, creating the original Union Pacific. One of America's iconic companies, today Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation, linking 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail and providing freight solutions and logistics expertise to the global supply chain. From 2000 through 2011, Union Pacific spent more than $31 billion on its network and operations, making needed investments in America's infrastructure and enhancing its ability to provide safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible freight transportation. The largest of Union Pacific's 10,000 customers include steamship lines, vehicle manufacturers, agricultural companies, utilities, intermodal companies and chemical manufacturers. Primarily concentrated west of the Mississippi River, UP directly owns and operates track in 23 U.S. states. Each “service unit” is further divided into many different subdivisions, which represent segments of track ranging from 300-mile (480 km) mainlines to 10-mile (16 km) branch-lines. Not including second, third, and fourth main line track, yard track, and siding track, UP directly operated some 36,206 miles (58,364 kilometers) of track, as of March 24, 2000. When the additional tracks are counted, the amount of track that it has direct control over rises to 54,116 miles (87,091 kilometers). There are many Advantages and Disadvantages for a business such as Union Pacific and General Electric to implementing the systems. Some advantages are that UP is developing or integrating various communications, information, locomotive and hardware technologies to drive innovation, improve service, enhance employee and public safety, bolster environmental stewardship and increase financial returns. Following is a sampling of those technologies. Ultrasonic Wheel Crack Detection
UP previously relied on visual inspections to identify outer cracks on wheels, but many times a crack splits a wheel from the inside before it's visible. For the past year or so, the railroad has used an ultrasonic wheel crack detection system to inspect all wheels on coal trains. Trains roll past a wheel crack detector at a slow speed. Since the railroad implemented the system, there have been no coal train derailments caused by wheel failure. UP is the only railroad that's using the technology, according to the Class I. Wayside Diagnostics
Wayside diagnostic systems now review 14 million data points per day. Hot box detectors use infrared scanners underneath the rails to assess the temperature of rail-car bearings. UP recently connected all 4,400 hot box detectors systemwide into a single network to determine trend lines and better identify bearings before they reach temperature thresholds that could lead to failures. Automatic Stop-Start Systems
All new locomotives now feature automatic stop-start systems to eliminate unnecessary idling. UP also is retrofitting older locomotives with the systems and more than 70 percent of the locomotive fleet now is outfitted with the equipment. Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
UP was the first railroad to equip all of its locomotives with GPS, according to the Class I. GPS helps manage locomotive flow, and monitor temperatures and fresh-air exchanges in refrigerated rail cars in real time. In addition, the railroad tracks trains through GPS on smartphones and provides customers a "trip" sheet including all measurements during a movement. Sensors
UP is helping the...