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The Ground Control System (GCS) is a Trackmobile safety innovation to put critical operator controls in the hands of ground-men. The system includes a pocket-sized remote control with an attached lanyard, as well as a compact receiver installed in the cab.
Key benefits to using the GCS include:
During normal operation with an operator in the cab and a ground person assisting, there are times when the ground person needs to be sure the railcar won’t move. This can be when connecting train air hoses, while inspecting clamshell doors on railcars, or any number of other situations, but in any of these situations the option for the ground person to remotely control the Trackmobile is critical. Additionally, the GCS allows the ground person to activate an in-cab alarm to quickly get the attention of the operator. These functions provide both safety assurances and a streamlined work process.
The GCS remote control has 10 buttons: a green “On” button, a red “Off” button, and four pairs of control buttons. The left side buttons activate certain functions of the Trackmobile remotely, while the right side buttons give control of those functions back to the in-cab operator.
The first pair of buttons, labeled “Train Air,” uses the left hand button to dump the train air to emergency for quick stops. The right hand button resets the Trackmobile emergency valve, allowing the in-cab operator the ability to recharge the train air system.
The second set of buttons, labeled “Brake/Neutral,” activates and deactivates the Trackmobile service stop sequence: The Trackmobile hydraulic brakes are applied, the transmission is electronically disabled by automatically diverting the power to the cab-mounted and off-side mounted status lights illuminating them, giving a visual indication to the ground person it is safe to proceed. The operator’s controls are locked out and cannot be used until the ground person again enables them by pushing a button.
The third pair of buttons labeled “Cab Alarm” activates a buzzer and a light in the cab, instantly summoning the operator’s attention.
There is a fourth button pair that can be used for additional functions: air horn, air-operated warning bell, or any “ON/OFF” function on the Trackmobile unit. These buttons could also be used to activate relays to energize and de-energize high voltage auxiliary equipment such as central alarms or process equipment. These functions are available at an additional cost.
No, GCS can be installed and used without Remote Control, or can be used in addition to it. GCS is a completely separate system with its own transmitter and receiver.
Keep in mind, the Remote Control System is used by an operator who leaves the cab and operates the Trackmobile unit from the ground with no one in the cab. GCS is used as a supplemental safety device for a ground person working with the Trackmobile unit, regardless of whether the railcar mover operator is in the cab or using the Remote Control to operate the Trackmobile.
For a more detailed look at the Remote Control System and its unique features, visit www.trackmobile.com/remote-control-system.
Take the example above of the ground person connecting the train air slip fittings. As the ground person approaches the couplers he/she uses the GCS to signal the operator that he/she will be momentarily out of sight and to not move the Trackmobile unit or couple railcars. For additional assurance that there will be no movement, the ground person activates the service stop button: the transmission shifts to neutral and the service brakes apply. Until the ground person pushes the deactivation button, the operator cannot override this mode and the machine cannot move.
Another example would be one of blocked observation or distraction. As an operator drives the Trackmobile, a forklift driver navigates through the plant and begins to cross the track. The Trackmobile operator does not notice the forklift driver, but the ground person sees both. To avoid an accident, the ground person pulls out the GCS and alerts the operator, shifts the transmission to neutral, and applies the train air brakes. This quick reaction is made possible by the GCS and prevents a major accident.