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Summary and Comments

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Category: 

Shipping_and_Transportation

Date: 

1997-02-24 00:00:00

Subject: 

Will the Railroads Break Down?

  Link:

http://www.datamation.com/PlugIn/issues/1996/jan1/UnionPacificStaysbody.html

Comment: 

This January, 1996 article tells the story of how Union Pacific found out it had a problem in 1995. They started taking action. Estimated lines of code to repair: 12 million. Estimated cost to repair it in staff time: 200,000 hours or 100 staff years.

If Union Pacific completes its revision, wonderful. I have these questions:

Will its repair be fully coordinated with the repairs (if completed) made by all other North American railroads?

If not, how will any railroad be able to locate where any given freight car is? (The companies trade cars continually. The cars are owned by investor groups.)

What about regulating train schedules, to keep trains from crashing into each other? Are they mainframe controlled?

Can a compliant computer have its data corrupted by interacting with a noncompliant computer? The answer is obvious: yes. Then how can the system work nationally if every railroad's computer isn't compliant and also fully coordinated with all the others? If the entire system isn't compliant and coordinated, how will our cities be supplied with coal, grain, chemicals, etc?

There is no organization in charge of coordinating the repair of the industry's computers.

Link: 

http://www.datamation.com/PlugIn/issues/1996/jan1/UnionPacificStaysbody.html

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