CSX seeks FRA approval to use Trip Optimizer’s automatic start and stop feature

CSX Transportation is awaiting regulatory approval to become the first railroad to use Trip Optimizer’s Zero-to-Zero function, which allows the advanced cruise control system to automatically start and stop freight trains.

The goal, CSX says, is to save fuel as part of the railroad’s effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37% by 2030. “Zero-to-Zero is a big piece of that … to improve fuel economy on line-of-road. We’re doing everything we can to reach those goals,” says Corey Davis, CSX’s director of fuel strategy and utilization, who headed the railroad’s Zero-to-Zero test program.

In conventional Trip Optimizer use, the system’s auto throttle mode works at speeds of 12 mph and above. Wabtec says Trip Optimizer can apply dynamic brakes, and when air brakes are required can recommend how much air the engineer should use and for how long, as well as when to release brakes. CSX trains have rolled off more than 23 million miles under auto control so far this year, Davis says.