The cold weather’s likely a shock for some visiting engineers who spent two intensive days with managers of the Union Pacific Railroad this week. The UP’s John Bromley says there was little advance notice the team was coming…from Iraq. He says they’re all people with experience in railroads but Iraq’s railroads “really fell apart” under the regime of Saddam Hussein, he says, so they’re looking to get rebuilding tips and catch up with technology. Bromley says the Iraqi railroad officials got far behind on the high-tech aspects of operating a railroad today. Railroads are very heavy users of computers he says, in the administrative offices but also in diagnostic maintenance, performance monitoring and almost every aspect of the running the trains. And Bromley says it’s not just computers that help keep the trains running. They’re using more GPS global positioning satellites to tracklocation of the cars and trains, and the offices along the tracks are linked by fiber-optic cable connections and microwave telephones to the central computers — he says they know pretty much who’s in the trains and where they all are on the railroads. Half a dozen Iraqi engineers spent two intensive days with the railroad’s management learning how they can rebuild their country’s ruined transportation routes. Friday they wrapped up their visit with a trip to the Union Pacific railroad museum in Council Bluffs.
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