Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Red Hat Powers Railroad Safety 

Red Hat, Inc. and Meteorcomm announced that the companies have collaborated to deploy Meteorcomm’s Interoperable Positive Train Control (PTC) communications solution with Red Hat JBoss messaging technologies and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. The resulting deployment initiatives support ongoing railroad efforts to implement the technologies in day-to-day operations. PTC communication solutions are diverse and complex. Railroads are faced with big challenges brought on by the new technology while structuring their deployment activities to accommodate existing system architectures and operational processes.

In support of the North American PTC program to be implemented across most of the U.S. rail network to position all PTC-enabled trains to detect and react to unsafe conditions in real time, Meteorcomm began work on a solution that would enable interoperability across both system architectures and operating platforms. Requiring flexible technology solutions to meet a wide range of requirements – including high availability, interoperability, mobility, and the ability to support a large network of remote and back office communications -- railroads have selected Meteorcomm’s data communications platform and the company’s wide array of professional services. The professional services required to support the deployment of PTC systems include Interoperable Train Control Communications (ITCC) design and deployment activities requiring technical talent and training that Meteorcomm and Red Hat both commit to fulfilling for the railroad community.

Meteorcomm customers are freight railroads, commuter railroads, and systems integrators with a railroad specialty practice. The company’s experts in railroad data communications worked closely with leading-edge technology suppliers to develop the industry’s first demonstrated Interoperable Positive Train Control data communications platform.

“The railroads did a tremendous amount of work developing their own messaging protocol,” explained James Kirkland, principal enterprise architect, Red Hat. “Faced with the aggressive timeline and the new technologies required for the protocol, they began considering alternatives. Red Hat worked with Meteorcomm to leverage an open, standard, wire-level messaging protocol that became the messaging component of the PTC communications system.”

Red Hat JBoss messaging technologies are built on an open, wire-level messaging protocol designed for maximum interoperability and complex networked systems with mobile endpoints. They enable servers to communicate and send messages to each other via the protocol, mapping easily into application-level APIs. Red Hat’s technical expertise and implementation of an open, wire-level messaging protocol are proven assets during the design and configuration of a back office.

“This project is highly complex. It introduces a reliability concept of 5 9s into the rail industry’s wireless communication infrastructure,” says Robert Turnbull, CEO, Meteorcomm. “This means that the system downtime cannot exceed 5.26 minutes per year. It’s the combination of highly reliable hardware and software components, processes and people working together in near-perfect unison that will bring about this level of reliability. Our mission is to support the new PTC communications ecosystem and to assist the railroads with adopting this new technology.”