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"Operational Safety and Signal System Development at JR East" -Dr Matsumoto, Executive Officer, JR East Gave Special Lecture

13 Jun 2012

jreast01.jpgThe first Special Baton Zone Lecture and "Super Leader 'Talk with the Top' Tutorial" were held in lecture room A2-201 on April 26.

Conducted by Dr. Masayuki Matsumoto, Executive Officer of East Japan Railway Company and Director of Signaling System Management Center the lecture was titled Operational Safety and Signal System Development at JR East, and focused on railway control systems.

Dr. Matsumoto began by describing the earthquake early-warning systems that brought to a safe stop all 27 Shinkansen bullet trains in operation at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. He also spoke of the condition of the damage sustained by the above-ground Shinkansen equipment in the disaster and how it was repaired and service restored a mere month and a half after the tumultuous event.

This was followed by a history of railway signals, which began with riders on horseback leading railway trains with flags, and a talk supplemented by easy-to-understand examples on how today's signals serve three vital roles: regulating train speed, controlling train routes, and alerting people that trains are approaching. Dr. Matsumoto also explained about how the lessons learned from railway accidents are reflected in improvements to train control systems in the quest for even higher levels of safety.

Participants were treated to a peek at the future of train control systems in the form of a wireless system under development by JR East and recently put to small-scale use. Making use of wireless telecommunication technology, the system has few above-ground installations, which makes it less vulnerable to damage in disasters. Another advantage is that it allows an increase in density in railway operations. This lecture was indeed scintillating, not just for engineering and communications students and faculty, but to everyone in attendance.

On the topic of the international standardization of train control systems, of which Dr. Matsumoto is a leading proponent, Dr, Matsumoto spoke about the progression of Japan's proposed international standard among the complex range of interests involved when dealing with such a large number of countries. He also commented on current trends in the international community, providing participants with a close-up feel of the rapid progress of globalization in many fields of business today.

Dr. Matsumoto concluded his lecture by exhorting the audience to "pursue big dreams, to innovate, and to do so with vigor."

jreast02.jpgThe second half of the program was the Super Leader 'Talk with the Top' Tutorial. Here, TB students who completed the Tailor Made Baton Zone Educational Program had the chance to hold a discussion with Dr. Matsumoto. This forum turned up some fascinating nuggets of information, such as how delegates from various countries participating in talks on establishing international standards switch from the stern thrust-and-parry of official negotiations to friendly banter during breaks, and how the conferences themselves bring together people from many disparate cultural backgrounds. Indeed, the tutorial provided students with insight into the importance of working in international settings.

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