BNSF Railway is always looking for ways to increase safety and capacity on our system. One way the railroad gets more capacity is through Centralized Traffic Control, or CTC. CTC consolidates train routing decisions that were previously carried out by local signal operators or the train crews themselves.
CTC utilizes automation allowing dispatchers to remotely control the signals and switches for crossovers and sidings. CTC comes into play in areas where trains can only move when the dispatcher has given permission to proceed, usually as two locomotives approach each other as they head in opposite directions.
Before CTC, one train crew had to stop, exit the train and manually align the switch to pull into the siding. The other locomotive crew then called the dispatcher to request permission to proceed. The lengthy process required a lot of communication and coordination, and train speeds were lowered to ensure safety on our tracks.
With CTC, the process moves much faster and more safely. The dispatcher uses their view of their entire territory to remotely set up switches and signals automatically, streamlining the process and allowing for higher train speeds.
To see CTC in action, watch the video below: