Railroad Air Brake Test (CFR 232) – Interactive 3D Simulation
BACKGROUND & PROBLEM: Inspecting and testing freight car air brakes, a common railroad task, is a fundamental part of a railroad’s initial training for Conductors and Freight Car Mechanics. This inspection and testing, known as Air Brake Test (CFR 232), requires railroads to have multiple freight cars on-site and allocate a significant amount of training time for demonstration, practices, and evaluation.
SOLUTION OVERVIEW: To alleviate physical space and time constraints, Railroads (like Norfolk Southern, CSX and more) deployed simulation based training (built by Heartwood) covering the complete inspection process. The simulation allows a student to visually inspect a variety of randomized freight cars, as part of a train, while manipulating brake components as necessary to properly configure the brake system. The student determines correct brake pressure and inspects for brake application & release via an exam practice mode. This gives the student additional practice at their pace, from any device, with a record of their performance given at the end.
Possible train defects:
- Air hose leaking
- Piston leaking
- Angle Cock leaking
- Retainer Valve leaking
- Cut Out Cock leaking
Complete list here.
1. Improved knowledge of air brake components and functions and increased efficiency performing the Air Brake Test.
2. Reduced need for live equipment (Locomotives/Freight cars allocated for training).
3. A standardized training resource and formalized tool for refresher training – part of a wider initiative for meeting FRA Part 243 training requirements.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
After using the sim, employees should be able to:
- Identify and determine the correct positioning of freight car air brake system components
- Manipulate freight car air brake system components and determine correct brake pipe pressure
- Inspect brake system components to determine if a brake is applied or released
- Complete a Class I Brake Test (CFR 232)
“Confidence and mastery demonstrated has noticeably improved! Where students seemed uncertain before, they now know what they’re doing. Training 100 mechanics & 1800 conductors using the sim and up to 15,000 soon ”
– Norfolk Southern.
“Rolling the Air Brake Sim to the mechanical group ” – CSX
NOTE: Norfolk Southern is identifying other training areas to deploy a suite of 3D training simulations and partnered with Heartwood to make this technology available to other interested railroads. Read that Press Release here (Contact info below for Licensing).
Read their Success story and Interview here!
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 19,500 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal, automotive, and industrial products.
CSX Corporation, together with its subsidiaries based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation’s leading transportation suppliers. The company’s rail and intermodal businesses provide rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service and the transport of intermodal containers and trailers.