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Big J News Briefs

Looking further into 2011

On-site signal training continues with our RTA partners in Cleveland, simulator development for various customers and field maintenance, and consulting are rounding out the year at Big J. Calendar dates at the time of this update are still available in the later third and fourth quarters but are filling up fast. Give us a call if even just to talk about a signal need or idea. Through discussions with Big J many potential customers are surprised to hear ideas of how that they can handle problems themselves or how affordable addressing their training needs can be when using Big J support. Call us today.

We will also try to keep our website up-to-date, but when addressing our customer needs, website updates are secondary. All of the Big J solutions you find here continue to be available as time goes on. Here's wishing each of you a great 2011 and beyond. Stay safe, qualified, informed and up-to-date.

February 2011

BNSF orders more 3T06 Three Track Trainer Boxes for the National Academy of Railroad Sciences Signal training department. BNSF and Big J have formed a good alliance for signal training support. Big J is proud to continue to work with a leading railroad company and training center.

January 2011

Development of standard signal maintenance training materials for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) based on new DART system which now includes VHLC and related equipment for the technician qualification program. Big J is proud to work with a leading transit railroad such as DART in yet another year of a continued training partnership.

December 2010

Six more Union Pacific Turn Out Track Trainers Built in Big J Shops in a whirlwind 2010 year ship out to the Union Pacific Signal Training Centers across the U.S. Union Pacific's expansion of training offerings in part includes Big J simulators once again. Big J is proud to continue to partner with a leader in the railroad and signal training industry.

December 2010

Big J wraps up a year of Session 1 Apprentice Signal Training for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA). A well situated and seasoned Transit line, GCRTA has chosen to go top-level with their signal training program and Big J is the company of choice to make it happen based on our extensive, system specific, hands on training approach that travels to the client. No other training service can offer as wide an offering of on-site, hands on, simulator enhanced training as Big J. "RTA, the way to go!"

November 2010

NJT-Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (Managed and operated by URS) celebrates graduation achievements of Signal Staff. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) signal technicians wrap up an eight week Signal Technician Qualification Training Program delivered over eight months, over two shifts to signal field staff. An intense academic, hands-on and field qualification program that went well beyond typical apprentice level training in content and required a passing score presented a challenge met by those who completed the course. Additionally, two well screened new hires attended and passed the course and received Big J letters of recommendation for admission into the signal ranks. Additionally two signal apprentice certificates were awarded to others in various parts of the program attendance. Big J salutes all the hard working, dedicated folks at the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail!

July- August 2010

Big J ships 6 custom-built track simulators to Chicago Metra Signal Training Center. Built to address the diverse needs of the Chicago Metra system, Big J was chosen for diverse offerings, pricing, and of course quality. Go METRA!

August 2010

Session 1 training delivery started on Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Three two-week intro session training delivery to GCRTA field staff started with projections of Session 1 training wrapped up in December 2010 with on-going training scheduled for 2011 and 2012.

April 2010

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Signal Technician training started. A rigorous eight-week program, that was scheduled to be completed in November 2010, began for Hudson Bergen Light Rail.

March 2010

Phase 3 of the ongoing Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit authority (LACMTA) is delivered! The third and final segment of the LACMTA Gold Line System Simulator is delivered and interfaced with the first two sections delivered in 2006 and 2007. The most complex of the three section simulator, based on the Gold Line System, was finished and delivered after numerous struggles with manufacturer parts delays and other logistics setbacks. Perseverance was the key, and Big J comes through with yet another successful addition to this very capable simulator. Big J quality and versatility finds an additional straight track trainer and turn out trainer being ordered and delivered with this same delivery. It is believed that the MTA Gold Line simulator is the largest transit system simulator in North America complimenting the LACMTA Signal Training Center, based largely on Big J Simulators, is also believed to be the largest Transit Signal Training Center in North America! Big J has been a proud supporter and exclusive simulator provider of the LACMTA Signal Training Program since 2003.

January, February, March 2010

Discussions with GCRTA, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Chicago Metra, and union Pacific Railroad wrap up with Big J awarded purchase orders for simulator and training services with each railroad. 2010 shaped up to be quite the year!

September 2009

LACMTA Phase 3 Gold Line Training Simulator purchase order awarded to Big J. Simulator construction began with target delivery date set for end of 2010, early 2011.

August 2009

DART Intro to Signal Maintenance training program delivered on site to DART New Hire Personnel.

July 2009

Big J handles Route B and Route OO Crossing light LED upgrade for Columbia Terminal Railroad (COLT). A faithful Big J service consumer, the COLT, employs Big J for LED flasher upgrades on two target crossings. Also, eight target crossing locations were outfitted with crossing bypass switches to enhance daily rail operations. Handling field tasks real-time on specific railroads ensures that you talk to active, in-field qualified, and FRA on-track qualified professionals when you talk to Big J. We are subject to the same qualification requirements you are. Many customers express added satisfaction knowing their training is handled by current and up-to-date signal technicians that work in the field themselves.

June 2009

GE, GETSGS contracts Big J to wrap up final training segment of the Sound Transit Light Rail Project Training. GE, recognizing Big J's established relationship with a mutual customer, saw the strength that Big J brings to finish the Seattle Sound Transit Light Rail Project Training on a very positive and successful note.

May 2009

Big J provides project training on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority for the Gold Line East Side Extension Project installed by GE, GETSGS. GE recognizes Big J for its established relationship with a mutual customer and the fact that Big J provided the initial Gold Line System Project Training for GE in 2003. That very year, Big J delivered training program and delivery re-wrote the guidelines for project training for GE and has since become a model that other signal training efforts have adopted and tried to reproduce. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

April 2009

Big J finishes final installation of training switch panel modifications at BNSF Signal Apprentice Lab at the National Academy of Railroad Sciences (NARS). Started in 2008 as a joint effort between Big J and BNSF, the provided parts were found to be incorrect for the existing application in the "lab" classroom. Modifying the existing 18-foot GRS-5 panel to a shorter 9 foot panel, the reclaimed 9 feet were targeted to be modified with points and a US&S M-23A switch machine. Where parts logistics fell short, the newly modified GRS panel was put back in service for use in training. After a sweeping search to locate the proper switch tie plates and engineering new gage point plates in Big J shops, the panel was completed and put into training service. Print upgrades were also made--all inside of the original discussed budget. Repurposing existing floor space to maximize your training effort and staying in your budget to this degree is a dedication not found in any other signal service. We here at Big J are proud to not share this spotlight. If you have an idea on a piece of training equipment or on a modification to a newer piece of equipment, you really should call Big J! See the modified BNSF switch panel project in the products and services section.

March 2009

Big J provides various training program sessions in a multi-week training delivery for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Keeping DART scheduling needs in mind, Big J arranged to deliver various segments of the DART training program over a three-week block allowing DART to maintain their own rigorous training schedules. DART and Big J celebrate their 8th year of partnering for DART Signal Training. Keeping the customer's needs first is everyday at Big J.

February 2009

Big J provides on-site training for the Southwest Railroad in Roswell, New Mexico. Big J staff members return to where they first started their railroad careers many years ago as new hires on the then Santa Fe Railroad in Roswell. The line, now leased by Progress Rail Services, utilizes Big J to get their new signal team trained and thinking like signalmen. Bringing system and division familiarity to this training effort put this training over the top for the new signal team. Big J has teamed with Progress Rail in previous training requirements around the U.S.

January 2009

Union Pacific multi-use turnout Track Trainers designed to UP-requested specs are shipped to UP training locations. This new design track box is geared towards switch circuit controller and associated track circuit configurations of monitored switch point location training. These new track boxes allow for setting up a turnout as a parallel or series track circuit configuration and also applying a circuit controller circuit as is typically done at hand throw switches on signaled lines. Due to its diverse complexity it shouldn't be considered as a first choice for track circuit training, but it can do the job. See the PSTO08 series turn out track trainers in our products and services page.

November 2008

Seattle Sound Transit takes its new signal system seriously and head on! Big J applauds the Sound Transit Light Rail of Seattle, Washington for their assembly of a quality team of signal technicians and their dedication to rail signal safety. The newly assembled team preparing for the system project training to begin recognized that the team they had assembled was very well versed in the craft of electronics but lacking in rail signal systems. A strenuous three-week training program was developed and delivered on site with Big J's traveling on- site simulators bringing the "new crew" in tune with signal basics and concepts setting a better tone for their ability to comprehend the project training starting in December. The Sound Transit is located in beautiful Seattle, Washington, and the signal team brings a wealth of other industry background experience and an established good team chemistry which made for a very enjoyable training atmosphere for all in attendance. Big J looked forward to other Sound Transit training that had been pinpointed in the near future.

Spring-Summer 2008

With a large amount of in-house assembly processes finishing and starting up, Big J expanded in house shop equipment and improvements at its Grain Valley, Missouri Location. Improvements and adding new shop equipment and assembling new traveling simulators are scheduled into Big J calendars and in summer 2008 we spruced up our shop and simulator equipment in our new facility. In house maintenance and improvements in stride with other ongoing customer services allow an ever increasing quality product to be Big J's end result to the satisfaction of our many customers.

February 2008

Hot Box Detector Training on the Indiana Railroad also took place in February 2008. Proper Set up, maintenance, calibration and troubleshooting in a hands-on delivery environment on an older style detector benefitted the Indiana Railroad Signal Team.

February 2008

Big J is chosen to handle signal training for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for the 2008 calendar year. DART is a firm believer in the Big J hands-on training approach, and statistics prove that students returning to their jobs are more confident and interested in their work after attending a Big J training session.

December 2007

Big J is asked to provide advisement and assistance with entire LACMTA training facility and program, while also wrapping up discussion for the final portion of a system simulator tentatively scheduled for delivery to LACMTA in mid 2008. LACMTA is a leader and example of signal training commitment done right. Good Job MTA!

October 2007

Big J provides on-site intro signal training to NJT and Bombardier signal department new hires from multiple NJT lines. Cost savings and on-site observation of what good their people were actually receiving were some of the major causes of praises received from NJT and Bombardier management. Big J can turn any conference room or tool house into a signal training classroom with simulators that arrive with Big J instructors for training. Advanced training is being discussed and scheduled for 2008. Big J is proud to be working closely with NJT and Bombardier once again.

August 2007

Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority orders track simulators for internal signal training. Based on observed and understood strengths of Big J track simulators, LACMTA has ordered multiple selections of track circuit simulators conducive to training on MTA systems, and these were shipped in December 2007. LACMTA is recognized as the largest and best outfitted signal training center on the west coast of the USA, largely comprised of Big J equipment. Way to go MTA!

July 2007

Big J provides intro signal training to Indiana Railroad new hire signal force. Training utilized Big J transportable training simulators and Big J training materials in a two-week signal intro course that included field training on actual line equipment with signal supervisor escort. Advanced training is being discussed for scheduling in 2008.

May 2007

Big J introduced the Supervisor Sidekick Track Trainer at the 2007 RSSI show in Calgary at the S&C Distribution Company Booth and receives great reviews. This trainer is the first of the compact, reduced cost simulators being developed by Big J. See more about the reduced size Supervisors Sidekick Track Trainer in the products section of this site.

April 2007

Phase two of the Los Angeles Metro training simulator was recently delivered and quickly interfaced to the phase one portion developed by Big J last summer. Based on actual railway location prints, this processor controlled intermediate section was developed to replicate the actual signal operations on the Metro line in miniature for training. The new module enhances the operating features and hence the "bigger picture" ability of the overall simulator. Big J is currently working with Metro officials to define specifications for a third portion of the simulator, ensuring that it too has the desired impact on the Metro's signal trainees. All the development, shipping and delivery, set up, and "train the trainer" training was handled directly by Big J for this simulator, making the familiarization of training staff a speedy process. At the same time, LA Metro also received a Big J Basic Straight Track Trainer for separate introductory training on the basic track circuit. It is believed that the Metro has acquired the largest system-correct training simulator in North America to date. This, along with their continued expansion, symbolizes the Metro's dedication to meeting an important need as it should be met on any railroad. Way to go Metro!

March 2007

Big J delivers DART introductory maintenance training to DART's new signal hires. With a new training approach using DART's in house simulators made by Big J, accompanied by Big J traveling equipment, a type of training that was previously lecture intensive and book taught was instead delivered in an intense hands on setting. Big J handouts and notes guides were used in conjunction with actual system product manuals and procedures and were a hit with students. This training had students so involved with the lesson and the results that they were building for themselves that often the instructor had to make the students leave the training area well after the end of the scheduled day, promising the students that they could pick up right where they left off the next morning. Big J realizes that training is a two-part deal: the training has to be of quality, and the students also have to be focused to properly absorb the material. But when your training program has the attendees entranced and wanting more of the information being delivered, you know that your training is being done right. A better capable employee returning to the field is DART's most striven for outcome when spending its training dollar, and that was certainly realized in this case. DART recognizes that in signal training, one size doesn't fit all, but one company can provide the right fit anytime and every time...and that company is Big J! GO DART!

January 2007

BNSF National Academy of Railroad Sciences accepts delivery of three new Big J Three Track Trainers. The Big J redesign of the BNSF original equipment resulted in easier to follow track wire schematics and graphics and offers identical trouble scenarios and track conditions to that of the original designs. With signal training demands requiring larger class sizes, these trainers provide a larger base of resources of hands on training equipment, so each student is afforded more direct time with the trainers and no rewriting or reworking of existing document training materials was required. These new trainers were delivered in just weeks from order time, and a Big J tech was on hand to address any concerns that the BNSF may have had in the initial use of the trainers. Big J brought home yet another high mark report card in this delivery to a satisfied customer. (See the 3T06 track trainer details in the products section of this site.)

Spring 2007

Big J Signal's manufacturing and development operations are now 100% in its new 5,400 square foot facility! Our new facility provides greater development area and workspace, increasing our ability and efficiency to handle multiple projects for an even timelier delivery. We had hoped to have an open house at this time, but filling customer orders comes first, so our open house will be scheduled for a later date. Meeting customer needs at the best price with the best customer service and delivery time will always be a Big J priority.

December 2006

Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) asks Big J to deliver a training seminar on highway-rail grade crossing preemption for state and federal signal inspectors. The seminar is receiving such attention that a second seminar may need to be scheduled to accommodate the attendance rush. This is a current hot topic for governing agencies and railroad design departments on railway crossing systems across the U.S. Big J maintains a close allegiance with state DOT and FRA inspectors and requirements, ensuring proper and current information is a baseline of any Big J offering. Government inspectors and railroads across the globe boast of the confidence and capabilities their people achieve through Big J training and training support.

November 2006

LACMTA contracts with Big J to develop a second portion of a rail system training simulator. It is based on the same pulse-coded AC track circuits in use on the actual electrified line. This next addition, which is to be delivered in first quarter 2007, places the LACMTA training center among the ranks of the most finely outfitted and capable signal training centers in the world. A third section is in initial development, targeted for delivery in late 2007 or early 2008.

September 2006

BNSF National Academy of Railroad Sciences, one of the finest and largest railway training facilities in North America, partners with Big J for crossing track circuit boxes developed on BNSF designs. See the three track style C ring 10 trainer in the products section for more information on these simulators. Additional simulators are being delivered in December 2006, with more upgrades and repairs on existing equipment being discussed as well as ongoing new simulator development. Big J considers it a privilege to team up with one of the finest Class 1 railroads and railroad training centers in the United States.

July 2006

Big J delivers an interlocking simulator to the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority (LACMTA) Railway. This simulator was based on actual location prints and programming from an MTA Gold Line location, using a leading manufacturer's processor controller in use on the line along with miniature switches, signals, live track circuits, and over sixty instructor-selectable troubles inserted at the trainer switch panel. LACMTA is applauded for taking the training of the MTA signal force seriously. Signal team leaders are finding that the simulator is an effective tool for checking locking test procedures before applying the tests to field locations--a wonderful and welcome additional strength that Big J Simulators are being internationally recognized for. The Gold Line Interlocking Simulator is one of three parts that are being built based on actual MTA location programming and prints.

April 2006

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) requests simulator tune up and upgrade of an in-service Big J interlocking simulator delivered back in 2003. All signalmen trained on the DART rail signal system use this simulator in their training, and DART is one of the believers in the value that this type of trainer provides. Upgrades include adding power to the miniature switch machines, which was an option declined at initial build time. Discussions of other possible simulator development are also being reviewed. DART is nationally recognized as a model transit rail system, and the DART commitment to all aspects of their system, including training support, is a key element in their achieving this recognition. DART's is a good example of an in-house training center being developed with a program unique to their railroad. While having a signal department of significant size, they produce trained and qualified people for their railroad at a much lower cost than that of subscribing to an outside training center. DART schedules the training they want when they want it. They are an excellent example of signal training requirements handled correctly. Way to go DART!

March 2005

Siemens Corporation Germany orders a custom track simulator based on Big J designs for in-house testing and training. This unique simulator is capable of replicating over 35,000 feet of track with varying qualities of ballast in its actual three-foot cabinet and panel. This simulator is earmarked as representing the longest track segment ever simulated by a Big J track simulator.



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