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TP56 Locomotive radio remote control

Custom Controls Inc. and Tractive Power Corporation recently completed work on the TP56 Industrial Locomotive Switcher. In layman’s terms it’s a remote controlled train!!!


TP56 Industrial Locomotive Switcher

The project took about 6 months to go from concept to reality, working closely with Tractive Power and outside rail engineers we helped design and implement a high performance, cost effective solution that conforms to Association of American Railroads specifications.

We integrated a HBC radiomatic Spectrum A transmitter and 737 receiver with a custom built air control panel for the control of the locomotive and rail car brakes. The Spectrum A was chosen as it allowed us to integrate a LCD for feedback to the operator of brake line pressures, wheel slip and sander functions.


The end result was everything we expected with precise controllability of brake pressures allowing for a smooth control of the machine and giving the operators the ability to quickly and accurately place cars for unloading.

While the radio control is a small portion of the overall package it is an important part, and one that spends a lot of time in front of the operator. Using a HBC radio control we were able to provide a product with features, options and a level of safety that anyone would be proud to include with their machine.

Tractive Power proved to be an ideal partner for this project. They embrace new and innovative ideas combined with tried and tested technology, and always with an eye towards the end goal. To build a machine that all other rail car movers will be measured against.

This prototype machine is now in the hands of the end user, is being used daily and by all accounts they are very happy with the overall package and are seeing a measurable improvement in productivity.

So thanks to Frank, Tim and everyone at Tractive Power for including us in the project. It was a great experience and the cherry on top was I got to drive a train!!

For more information on the machine please visit the Tractive Power Corporation web site at:

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