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Category: Shipping_and_Transportation

(feel free to mail this page)



(Links to documents appear after the summary.)

I won't spend much space on this. Here's the basic problem.

Railroads carry things in freight cars. Each car has a number on its side. This number is entered into a computer. "Car 54000, where are you?" You check this on a mainframe computer.

These cars are leased by the railroad companies, often from limited partnerships set up to buy cars. The railroads send these cars from place to place, hoping to maximize their return. They transfer cars to other railroads temporarily if it's profitable. "Where's our car?" Check the mainframe computer.

Trains are often controlled by computers located a thousand miles away. Where's one train right now in relation to any other train on that track? The computer knows.

Is this any way to run a railroad? It is . . . until January 1, 2000. "Well, they gave him his orders at Monroe, Virginia, saying, 'Steve, you're way behind time. This is not 48, but it's old 97. You must put her into Spencer on time.' " And so forth.

Can't you do the switching manually? No. The manual switches are gone. Even if you could, where would you find the switchmen? In retirement homes. In graves.

The system goes down on January 1, 2000. In Detroit, New York, and Chicago, it will be chilly outside. Electrical power generating plants run on coal. Maybe 20% of power is generated by coal. Maybe more in some systems. Where's the coal?

Wheat. Corn. Chemicals. Think about it. Maybe you could design a party game. Everyone suggests an item which, if unavailable, would paralyze a city first. The players vote at the end. The winner gets a month's supply of dried food.

Think of a giant switch that every train must cross before going on to its destination. Then imagine what it would be like if the switch refused to work on schedule. The United States has such a switch. It's called Chicago.

(Other categories: "Banking," "Noncompliant Chips," "Domino Effect.")

Updated - Subject

31-Jan-97   U.S. Navy's Global Positioning System
24-Feb-97   Will the Railroads Break Down?
15-Aug-97   Union Pacific Puts Pressure on Its Suppliers
27-Aug-97   GM's Problem: 7,000 Computer Systems, Plus Suppliers
14-Oct-97   Union Pacific Vows to Begin Testing in December, 1998
22-Oct-97   A Vulnerable Auto Industry Tries to Prepare for Worst
27-Oct-97   The US Auto Industry's Compliance Questionaire for Suppliers
31-Oct-97   Union Pacific's 1997 Gridlock: Foretaste of Things to Come
31-Oct-97   Trains Can't Move Grain: Computers Partially at Fault
01-Nov-97   Cutting Down the Old Switching Towers
11-Nov-97   Vulnerable Systems: Y2K and Railroad Operations
11-Nov-97   No Planes in the Sky to Fall: The Mess at the FAA
13-Nov-97   KLM Airlines Says It May Not Be Flying on Dec. 31, 1999.
13-Nov-97   USDA Reports on Grain Shipment Problem
13-Nov-97   Flight 2000 Plan: Due in September, 2000
20-Nov-97   Modern Airliner: 160 Date-Dependent Systems
24-Nov-97   5 Airlines Claims (Anonymously) 100% Compliance
26-Nov-97   Great Britain's Trains Are Now Beginning Y2K Repairs
01-Dec-97   Railroads and Grain Shipments
27-Dec-97   Department of Transportation: No CIO (Head Geek)
13-Jan-98   Testing the Y2K Fix in Britain's Railroads: Christmas, 1999
14-Jan-98   Airline Industry in Jeopardy: FAA May Not Make the Deadline
14-Jan-98   Union Pacific: Dependent on Its 16,000 Vendors
17-Jan-98   Transportation Department Way Behind, Says Government Report
20-Jan-98   FAA's Problem: Incredibly Old Computers
22-Jan-98   Insurance Industry May Ground Airlines.
23-Jan-98   England's Y2K Ramrod Warns About Air Traffic Control
23-Jan-98   GM Has 2 Billion Lines of Code to Examine & Repair
04-Feb-98   Union Pacific's Success Story Is Not Cheery
04-Feb-98   British Air Controllers Face Y2K Problem
05-Feb-98   FAA: 23 Million Lines of Code. Ready for Testing in Nov. 1999
05-Feb-98   The FAA's Other Problem: Noncompliant Hardware
05-Feb-98   SABRE Reservation System Is Still Not Compliant
09-Feb-98   Y2K Code Repair Expert Warns Congress: FAA Won't Make it by 2000
10-Feb-98   GAO Says FAA Is Way Behind
10-Feb-98   Dept. of Transportation Admits: FAA Is Facing a Disaster
11-Feb-98   FAA Administrator Describes the Enormous Task
11-Feb-98   British Airways to Spend 100 Million Pounds on Y2K Repairs
17-Feb-98   Customized Software Foils Y2K Repairs in Air Traffic Control
02-Mar-98   Grounded Airplanes in 2000
10-Mar-98   DFW Airport Is Not Compliant
10-Mar-98   DFW: The Software Vendor Problem
10-Mar-98   SABRE: Not Compliant, 200 Million Lines of Code
13-Mar-98   FAA Chief says FAA Will Make Deadline
13-Mar-98   Auto Suppliers
13-Mar-98   Union Pacific's Solution: Redefine Mission-Critical
06-Apr-98   FAA's Problems Described by Air Traffic Controller
07-Apr-98   The FAA Won't Make the Deadline; Shutdown of Airports Looms
16-Apr-98   No Problem, Says FAA Official
17-Apr-98   KLM Airlines Draws Up No-Fly Zones
22-Apr-98   Denver Airport Is Not Compliant
23-Apr-98   FAA Promises New Technology in 2001 That Will Cut Fatalities by 80%
24-Apr-98   Automakers Are Facing a Disaster: Noncompliant Suppliers
02-May-98   FAA: 23 Million Lines, 50 Languages
04-May-98   Railroad Switching Is Operated by Computer Only
04-May-98   British Airports: Y2K Fixes Delayed Several Years
04-May-98   Y2K Czar Isn't Worried About Air Transportation
05-May-98   Traffic Lights: Warning from Expert
05-May-98   Ford and General Motors: Trucks Only, Says Consultant
06-May-98   Economic Disaster if FAA Fails, Says GAO
06-May-98   Life in the Big City: No Traffic Lights
07-May-98   Airline Industry: 17,000 Suppliers. Is Even One Compliant?
11-May-98   Airline Woes Described by IATA
11-May-98   Airline Industry's Seminar on Problems. No Published Answers
14-May-98   British Airways' Y2K Bill: Over $300 Million
19-May-98   Atlanta Airport: Another Doomed Building
23-May-98   GM's Problems Updated: 100,000 Suppliers, Embedded Chips
25-May-98   A Web Site Devoted to Maritime Shipping and Y2K
27-May-98   British Rail Scraps 44 Projects for Sake of Y2K
28-May-98   United Airlines: 11,000 Noncompliant Systems
28-May-98   FAA's Timeline: Official Deadlines for Y2K Success
28-May-98   FAA's Long, 39-Tasks Program to Get Compliant
29-May-98   FAA Says It Will Meet Deadline: July, 1999
29-May-98   FAA Provides Camouflaged Bad News on Its Web Site
29-May-98   FAA: A Plan Is Almost as Good as Compliance
29-May-98   FAA: Future Tense for Every Phase of Its Y2K Project
29-May-98   Texaco Describes Its Y2K Problems
29-May-98   Texaco: Almost Finished With Inventory
29-May-98   Mobil: Still in the Inventory Phase
02-Jun-98   Norfork Southern: Vague Statement (Jan. 1998)
03-Jun-98   Boeing Warns Its Suppliers: Deliver Compliant Products
08-Jun-98   Colliding Ships Possible, Says Government Agency
09-Jun-98   Airlines Will Be Safe, Say FAA Chief and Boeing Representative
09-Jun-98   MARTIAL LAW: Government Control of Transportation
10-Jun-98   U.S. Dept. of Transportation Can't Be Fixed, Says DOT's Y2K Manager
12-Jun-98   The FAA Can Operate at 38% Capacity: Koskinen


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