The Scout Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system supports radio communications at 20 remote dispatch sites and replaces the railway’s former Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) system. The new IP infrastructure distributes voice packets over a LAN/WAN infrastructure using standard Ethernet technology, which eliminates the need for a backroom TDM switch. The new system supports compliance with the Federal Communication Commission’s narrowbanding requirements that go into effect Jan. 1, 2013.
W&LE, headquartered in Brewster, Ohio, is one of the nation’s largest Class 2 regional railroads. Each year, the railway carries more than 100,000 carloads of commodities such as gas, construction aggregates, and steel for more than 120 customers. Its 325 employees depend exclusively on radio communications to maintain efficient and safe operations on its tracks and rights of way.
“It has been a godsend,” said Dan Reinsel, signal and communications supervisor for W&LE. “Our new Scout console system does everything a traditional console does and more. We now have functions we never had with a TDM system and analog phone. For instance, we have remote cameras at three of our yard operations in Pittsburg, Akron, and Steubenville, Ohio. Now with remote video monitors, we can see what’s going on and talk to our people there via the radios, all on the same system.”
The Avtec Scout console includes touch-screen technology and advanced features such as a voting option that determines the best signal strength and quality among multiple radio base stations. Scout’s disaster recovery options and automatic failover to redundant equipment ensures uptime for a customer that previously had to depend on cell phones during circuit outages.
Michael Branning, president of Avtec, said, “Our company has a long and distinguished history of serving the railroad industry, and W&LE has been a customer since 1996. We’re proud to be able to provide them a state-of-the-art system that allows them to migrate from TDM and realize all of the benefits of a system that runs on the latest Internet Protocol (IP) technology.”
Major Benefits of the New Scout Dispatch Console at Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway
• Supports compliance with narrowband requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
• Migration from TDM to IP technology supports flexible system design and disaster recovery options
• Seamless control of existing Kenwood radios
• Network support for railway functions including video monitoring, work schedules, and safety logs
• Customizable graphical user interfaces enhance Dispatcher productivity
Scout Project Manager supports “live” remote configuration updates