David Baldock
NOV 29, 2022

CN Deploys Award-Winning Technology to Help Keep Field Track Employees Safer

An innovative real-time technology app developed by CN teams to keep field track employees safer has earned the railroad a 2022 Railway Association of Canada (RAC) Safety Award. RAC describes the honour as recognizing members who go above and beyond in making rail the safest mode of transportation from coast to coast.

CN was recognized for its innovative Electronic Track Authority Verification (ETAV) navigation tool which provides precise location information to Engineering hi-rail operators and warns them prior to exceeding their Track Authority limits. Main Track Authority Violations (MTAV) are caused by hi-rail trucks being outside authorized boundaries.

RAC Award Ceremony
Luc Fiset and Rahim Karmali accepting the award from Marc Brazeau, President and CEO at RAC

“ETAV is a great example of collaboration and teamwork between CN Engineering, Safety and the Operational Technology Geographic Information System teams, providing a new layer of protection for hundreds of employees and on-track vehicles daily,” says Luc Fiset, Senior Director Operational Technology.

ETAV complements existing processes that hi-rail operators use to get permission from rail traffic controllers to access and work on tracks. Operators log onto the ETAV application, and can see their precise location within their authorized track limits. Their truck’s exact position is monitored in real-time through a Global Navigation Satellite System. As they approach the limits of their Track Authority, ETAV sends them auditory and visual alerts.

“I like the confidence ETAV brings,” says David Baldock, Thermite Welding Foreman, Mountain Region, who has been with CN for 13 years. “Knowing where I am on track at all times not only makes my job safer but a lot easier to find track conditions.”

The ETAV navigation aid is currently installed on more than 2,000 engineering hi-rail trucks, with plans to be deployed across CN’s entire network in 2022.