Heater control for switch and 3rd rail - SEPTA

Back to Case Studies

The project’s primary objective was to provide Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority with a new wireless remote heater control system for switches and third rail.

Today, these switch and third rail heaters are controlled via RailComm’s DOC® System. All communications are taken care of via a combination of RADiANT® serial radios, cellular modems, and a fiber network along SEPTA lines. Crucially, RailComm’s Heater Control System is engineered to provide railroads with the flexibility to remotely control any type of heater on the market today.

System breakdown and benefits

The DOC System is a commercially available and off‐the‐shelf control system. That means it typically requires no unique design or modifications to meet the required operating specification. Authorized users can remotely operate all switch and third rail heaters via the DOC’s intuitive, graphical user interface (GUI). What’s more, they can monitor the operation of the element from here too.

How does it work?

When heating elements present a failed condition, the system alarms the dispatcher immediately. This means that any action required can be taken before it affects train movement. What’s more, remotely controlled heating elements allow SEPTA to only run their heaters when absolutely necessary. Not only does this cut down energy costs, it helps reduce the time railroad employees spend along the track as well.

Project summary

Firms involved

  • RailComm, LLC
  • $0.6 million +

    Project size