Rail services expansion a time for mainframe modernization

Railroad companies should consider the tools they will need to bring key mainframe applications to an entire workforce as it changes. The intense work schedule of this industry makes implementing a modernization that doesn't interrupt normal service difficult, but a web-based mainframe terminal emulator keeps functions relatively simple for all devices.

With appropriate technological infrastructure, operators may find it less daunting to grow their business because it will be easy to find pertinent information online. The Ottawa Citizen featured a recent editorial on VIA Rail, a Canadian company that wants to increase efficiency, improve consistent service and drive up passenger numbers as a result.

Though VIA is adding trains to its service, CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano said that this is actually an obstacle because they have to share track with other trains, including freight cars. He added that capacity is another important goal for the operation.

"The reality is, if the service was more reliable than it today, then you could fill the trains to their capacity," he said. "Today we run at 60 percent capacity. If you could run the trains at 90 percent capacity, you'd eliminate the deficit today."

Last month, a derailment forced VIA to stop using a route that links Toronto and Winnipeg because of a derailment of a different train service, though the CBC reports that normal service is soon expected to resume.

Like many complicated industries, keeping control of assets requires thorough understanding of the different systems at work and management of all of the observable data. With a convenient, full-function interface at their disposal, railroad managers will move from their overworked mainframe to a simple format that is flexible and dynamic.