First POSS pilot project in US

15 September 2014

In late July 2014, Strukton Systems took the first POSS switch monitoring system on US soil into operation. This is done within a 6-month pilot project in Detroit, involving switches of Canadian National Railway (CN). Two switches at the Moterm junction near Detroit are connected to POSS monitoring. At the end of the 6-month period, CN will decide whether or not it will be acquiring the system.


The Moterm junction near Detroit comprises, among other things, a crossover configuration with two 1:15 crossover switches. These switches are controlled by robust switch machines, which in view of the length of the switch blades also employ a set of helper rods. Due to the low power voltage of 20 V DC, the current at the Moterm facility is far higher than in European systems. This requires the use of thick cabling (over 20 mm² per strand). Moreover, at over 10 seconds, the running time is quite long.

While the switches at Moterm are not used very frequently (three to five times a day), they are subjected to considerable strains. The passing freight trains are often more than a kilometre long; goods wagons carry two layers of containers at a time; and car wagons three layers of vehicles. The facility needs to satisfy very strict availability requirements due to the large volumes transported in each individual train run. Any delays in the train services for the DHL or UPS package delivery companies would result in a steep fine.

Partnership with RDG

To market POSS in the US, Strukton Systems works together with the engineering firm RDG (Rail Development Group), based in Rochester, NY. Among other things, RDG remanufactures  switch machines, locks and B-relays for major North American railway companies. RDG and Strukton teamed up during the rail sector trade fairs in Indianapolis (September 2013) and Nashville (May 2014) to present POSS, among other products. Fair attendees showed a great deal of interest in the system.

POSS monitoring

The POSS system – developed in-house by Strukton – can be used to monitor rail assets such as switches, train detection systems, level crossings, etc. The monitoring data are presented in a universal format and can be reviewed via the Internet. Experts can monitor the current situation online of the assets from anywhere in the world, and use the data to determine an effective preventative maintenance programme.

POSS has grown to become the most widely-used point monitoring system worldwide and it is used by railway companies in various countries including Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Great Britain.