Solar power helps improve safety device and stands up to tough railyard conditions

Mon, 2016-12-05 15:51 -- kate.lautens

The largest freight hauling network in the United States, the Union Pacific Railroad covers 23 states west of Chicago, Illinois, and New Orleans, Louisiana. It operates 8,500 locomotives, which run on over 32,100 route-miles of track. Safety on its railyards is paramount to operations, and robust equipment is vital for withstanding the tough conditions.

Blue flag with blue Carmanah safety light on top

Since 2008, it has been a requirement to pair a light with the blue flag that has been used for decades to alert trains of workers on or near the track. For one Union Pacific railyard in Des Moines, Iowa, its selected compliant lights constantly required bulb and battery replacements, time-consuming maintenance that proved costly. Railyard staff recognized that the railyard required something more robust, and looked to solar lighting as a solution that would recharge via the sun, helping minimize costly battery replacements.

Carmanah’s OL2A solar LED safety lights proved to be a durable, low-maintenance blue safety light for the railyard. Brian Sinram, a Class 1 Union Pacific Railroad employee who has worked over 30 years in the train yard and locomotive service track area, has seen and used a lot of blue lights over his career. “Carmanah’s are top of the line,” he says. In addition to being compliant, the Carmanah lights offered significant durability. “Their lights work flawlessly through heat, rain, and freezing cold weather. They also take a beating, being lifted, lowered, and sometimes dropped—but they never quit working.”

Sinram explains that Carmanah’s lights are used at both ends of the service track protecting their derails. “They have been in service for over five years, trouble-free,” he says. “They are my first choice in blue lights; one less item to worry about.”

Read the project summary