New track and time aids will ensure Track employees and dispatchers are on the same page.
Signal technicians are familiar with what dispatchers see on their computer screens, because it’s essentially the same as what they see in the wayside bungalows in which they work. That’s not the case for Track employees, who use linear profiles and timetables to discern track designations and signal locations.
“Those look completely different than the dispatchers’ screens,” Manager of Signal and Communications John Ramirez said.
Given that what the dispatcher sees impinges on blocking and track protection, Signal Inspector Dan Lawler saw an opportunity for enhancement. He decided to produce track and time job aids similar to those other railroads have.
Compiled in binder, the aids include PDF screen captures that show users what dispatchers would see on their computer screens in various scenarios that Track employees would commonly encounter. Ramirez described them as a “snapshot.”
“Some employees who used the aids said they couldn’t believe how different they were from a timetable,” he said. “There’s been a lot of positive feedback from Track.”
Ramirez added that when everyone’s looking at the same picture, it’s easier for all parties to communicate clearly and with greater specificity. A Track employee can reference a specific feature on the aids that will help the dispatcher block exactly as Track employee intended.
Lawler teaches employees the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR) and Roadway Worker Protection; the training paves the way for FRA-mandated annual certification.
“He’s been working on the track and time job aids with PTC Foreman Clint Jonas for a while,” Ramirez said. “It’s slowly evolved to what it is today.”
PTC Foreman Jim Szostak helped to complete the project.