Hear from Brad Howell, Lodestar President, at GE’s Minds + Machines Conference in Chicago on October 9, 2013. Lodestar, a third party logistics provider has been using GE Transportation’s Optimization Solution ShipperConnect software and solutions and discusses his long-standing relationship with Optimization Solutions, the benefits of GE’s shipper products, and their future plans for using ShipperConnect solutions for rail shippers.


Optimization Solutions

GE Transportation Optimization Solutions business offers solutions for the world's toughest rail challenges. GE Transportation Optimization Solutions is a leading provider of transportation management software and analytics to the railroad industry.

Optimization Solutions offers integrated rail transportation solutions for enterprise-wide data integration and sharing. Optimization Solutions solve the world’s toughest rail transportation challenges by leveraging in-depth knowledge of rail operations, intermodal terminal operating systems, and multi-modal transportation management to provide Software as a Service and licensed solutions to railroads and industrial shippers. 

Optimization Solutions software is used to manage rail and intermodal operations, signal and communication assets, railcar repair billing and inventory, and multi-modal visibility, planning, and execution for industrial shippers and logistics service providers.

Our Customers

GE Transportation Optimization Solutions offers products and services for two important business segments: railroads and shippers.


Optimization Solutions offerings to railroad segment are designed to maximize the asset utilization, increase network capacity and reduce the operating expenses.


ShipperConnect is a cloud-based software suite that allows industrial rail shippers and terminal operators to automate operations, manage inventory and control transportation costs. 

Tools for rail shippers to optimize their supply chain and maintaining and configuring assets on location and in the field.

Network Optimization Solutions unlocks network and yard efficiencies resulting in increased capacity and velocity, increased on-time performance and reduced dwell time.

Rail Network Optimization Solutions are designed to optimize the operation of mainline and the yards resulting in increase in network velocity and capacity, improvement on-time performance and reduction in dwell time at yards. With real-time planning and optimization capability, railroads can react to unplanned events and re-plan train movement to resolve conflicts.

Increase productivity and efficiency by automating operations and delivering data intelligence to improve decision-making.

Signaling & Train Control

GE Transportation’s portfolio of state of the art solutions ensure safe, reliable yet optimized and cost efficient movement of trains.

Gain safer operations, cost effectively— without changing the rules.

SSC Automatic Train Protection

SSC is an overlay system that uses wave technology to transmit signal and track information to the train, offering safer railway operation, in a cost-effective and timely manner.

ITCS - Incremental Train Control System

ITCS wirelessly communicates train movement authority as though the territory were operating under centralized traffic control—effectively doubling the line capacity possible with traditional control methods.

Tempo ETCS

The Tempo European Train Control System (ETCS) portfolio is a complete range of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) compliant systems that brings significant advantages in terms of safety, reliability, punctuality and traffic capacity.

Tempo CBTC

Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) represents a smart solution that helps urban transit operators solve their operational and service improvement challenges.

GE Transportation’s suite of Computer Based Interlocking solutions designed to make the control of railway traffic simpler and more efficient.

Vital Logic Controller

GE’s multi-purpose Vital Logic Controller (VHLC) provides control of power switch machines and AC or DC lighting of signal lamps, replacing most vital and non-vital relays at an interlocking.

ElectroLogIXS VLC

ElectroLogIXS VLC is GE’s next generation of vital interlocking control for power switch machines, ElectroCode Track Circuits and AC or DC lighting of signal lamps.

Tempo Interlocking

Tempo computer-based Interlocking Solution is suitable for small or large lines—from fewer than 20 track objects up to 1,000 track objects per controller—and supports both centralized and distributed architectures.

Meet the prediction, detection and activation requirements of today's crossing environments, ensuring safety where it's needed most.

RailEdge is a fully integrated suite of operations control and advanced communications applications designed for the rail industry. It provides the tools you need to gain a competitive edge. With open architecture and built-in scalability, RailEdge applications are adaptable to all types of rail systems. 

Our RailEdge products, designed for Operation Control Centers, offer innovative solutions for reliable and safe movement. 

GE Transportation's implementation of the Automatic Train Control improvements called for by the 2008 Rail Safety Improvement Act. 

Positive train control (PTC), one tenet of the legislation, is a system of monitoring and controlling train movements to provide increased safety. According to the Rail Safety Improvement Act, there are four aspects that the railroads must address with a PTC system: 

  • Prevent train to train collisions
  • Prevent over speed derailments
  • Prevent incursions into established work zone limits
  • Prevent the movement of a train through a switch left in the improper position

The Act states that PTC will be required on 1) main lines (when there is five million gross tons per year on a track) over which is transported: a) any quantity of poison—or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials, or b) where there is intercity passenger service or 2) lead locomotives operating on any territory that requires PTC installation.  The final implementing rule verbiage related to all of the above is still under debate within the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) with more explicit definitions pending. The result, however, is that PTC will likely be required on more than 70-90% of main line trackage within the United States.

The Acts also mandates that the PTC system be interoperable where there is a need such that any railroad's locomotive could operate over any other railroad's infrastructure using the same signaling/control systems. This can be a difficult task due to varrying operational methods, communications infrastructure, signaling philosophies, etc. between North American railroads. Finally, PTC must be fully operational by December 31, 2015. 

The main concept in PTC (as defined for North American Class I freight railroads) is that the train receives information about its location and where it is allowed to safely travel, also known as movement authorities. Equipment on board the train then enforces this, preventing unsafe movement. PTC systems will work in either dark (non-signaled) or signaled territory and often uses GPS navigation to track train location.

We’re the industry leader in electronic track circuits and interlocking control as well as an innovator in train movement technologies.

Signal Data Transmission (Sapphire T48)

A single platform for train description, modular control and SpadAlert signal data transmission systems.

Sapphire T48 Modular Control System

The SapphireT48 Modular Control System (MCS) reads input data from interlocking equipment and sends changes to workstations, other control equipment and peripheral devices.

Our switch machines enhance productivity with dependable operation, minimized maintenance requirements and reduced cost of ownership.


The CTS2 achieves a new industry milestone in switch machines, eliminating the need for scheduled lubrication and regular adjustments, resulting in faster return on investment.

3000LP Hydra-Switch

Hydraulically operated and automatic, the 3000LP switch delivers optimal freight movement with the most efficient use of labor.

Vital Switch Controller

The Vital Switch Controller (VSC) is a solid state device for control of 24 VDC and 110 VDC switch machines.

Proven solutions to detect train presence/track vacancy as well as broken rails.

AFTAC II Train Detection

The Audio Frequency Train Activated Circuit (AFTAC) II system is GE’s latest  FM audio overlay technology for train detection.

Axle Counter SCA

SCA-2 is a vital CENELEC SIL4 modular axle detection and track occupancy system that performs within a wide range of rail applications, with unmatched flexibility and reliability.

Electro Code 5

GE’s Electro Code 5 combines the industry’s foremost signaling principles with state-of-the-art electronic technology.

ElectroLogIXS EC5

The ElectroLogIXS EC5 uses time-tested track circuit technology to detect train presence and broken rail and to communicate with adjacent EC devices.

Electrified Electro Code Interface

The Electrified Electro Code (EC) interface unit from GE Transportation brings the proven performance of the EC coded DC track circuits to applications with electrified propulsion power.

Train Optimization

GE Transportation's onboard solutions to increase the utilization and operational efficiencies of rolling stock in terms of safety, capacity, cost and energy consumption.

Increase the productivity of older locomotives and optimize overall information management of your railway system with our onboard computer systems.

Brightstar Control System

Get up to 25% more productivity from older locomotives, with improved adhesion capability and increased fleet capacity.


Optimize the delivery of communications to improve locomotive utilization and increase operating efficiencies.

Improve signaling across your railyard with our onboard train control solutions. 

Ultra Cab II Signaling

Ultra Cab II provides real-time onboard reception of wayside signals for safer, more productive hauling of products.

Tempo ETCS Onboard Controller

Part of GE’s Tempo European Train Control System portfolio, the Tempo ETCS Onboard Controller Solution is a modular, scalable way to improve signaling.