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BELTPACK® Locomotive Remote Control

BELTPACK® is a sophisticated computer-based locomotive remote control system. It allows yard operators to control driverless, microprocessor-equipped switching locomotives using a battery-operated portable Operator Control Unit (OCU).

Easy to use, there is no need for extensive operator train handling experience to put BELTPACK® to work, safely and efficiently.

Railroads that have adopted BELTPACK® as a locomotive remote control solution, have significantly increased safety in their yards, reduced their operating costs, and improved their productivity. BELTPACK® has been proven to significantly reduce rail yard incidents, in some cases, the accident rate was reduced by 56%.

Contact Laird Technologies today for your complete application solutions. 


What makes BELTPACK® revolutionary is Brain in the Train™, an advanced onboard microprocessor programmed with the industry's best train handling practices. Other unique features are Dynamic Speed Control™ which gives the operator complete control over train speed and more time to concentrate on his surroundings and the movement of the train; Protective Pitch and Catch™ for safe and efficient dual-operator control and tilt detection, which will automatically sound an alarm and bring the train to a controlled stop if the OCU is tilted more than 45 degrees off the vertical. As well, the reset safety control monitors operator alertness while interlocked processing of commands will prevent unsafe actions. There is also a pre-programmed coupling speed feature.

Our extensive BELTPACK® support services include:

  • RC 24/7 Helpdesk Program
  • Training Services (Operations & Maintenance)
  • Supply of Parts and Components/Repair Services
  • Application Engineering and Customization
  • Installation and Commissioning Services
  • LRC Mode Yard Efficiency Review

All our remote control products are certified to be manufactured under the latest Quality Assurance ISO 9001-2000 standard as well as the Association of American Railroads AAR M-1003 standard.


Typical Pitch and Catch configuration including a Repeater.

Beltpack Architecture 

Technical Data & Specification

BELTPACK® Operator Command Unit (OCU) The BELTPACK® OCU is a 3.5 lbs. portable, battery powered radio control unit that transmits operator control commands (i.e. speed, braking, etc.) to the locomotive. An operating OCU transmits on average three (3) times per second with a nominal control range of one (1) mile line of sight. Optional repeaters can be used to extend the communication range.

An ergonomically designed support harness allows the operator to precisely position the OCU for maximum comfort.
Pullback Stopping Protection [PSP] Specialty pullback tracks designed implementing diverse track-mounted transponders and GPS mapping to ensure RCL continuously stays within prescribed stopping trajectory. This safety critical feature provides autonomous electronic point protection for the pullback moves.
Slow Speed Control The standard throttle modulating Speed Controller can be optionally augmented with a more precise Excitation Control providing +/-0.1Mph precision, typically employed for hump yard operations.
Cycle Braking Protection The BELTPACK® System supervises the RCO use of the Automatic (train) Brake to protect against excessive brake cycling. The protection limits are fully customizable.
Dragging Independent Brake Protection This customizable feature provides supervision of the RCO use of the Independent Brake Override to protect against running the RCL at speed.
Wheel Slip Aversion Upon detection of a host locomotive Wheel Slip alarm, the BELTPACK® System attempts to mitigate continued wheel slip by holding/reducing throttle and/or apply sand automatically.
Brake System Monitoring The System continuously monitors the Independent and Automatic Brakes to ensure safe functionality.
Host Locomotive Electrical Interface Monitoring The System continuously monitors Throttle and Reverser controls to ensure safe functionality.
Brake Shoe Configuration The specific BELTPACK® RCL can be configured for either Cast Iron or Low Friction Composition brake shoes. The proprietary Speed Controller uses this configuration to reduce potential for wheel lock-up upon Stop commands.
Snow Brake Option The System can be configured by the Operator during winter operations to capitalize on the frictional heat generated on the brake surfaces by maintaining a nominal brake cylinder pressure at all times during movements (thereby keeping brakes free of snow and ice).
Variable Speed Hump (VSH) Option The BELTPACK® VSH Option takes advantage of the (existing) Hump Process Control System (HPCS) variable speed humping capability to provide a Variable Speed Hump (VSH) Speed Control of the RCL. The Option is designed to transfer Speed Control authority, (from the RCO) to the HPCS in a controlled and safe manner using a Pitch Control Transfer.
Remote Stop Option The BELTPACK® Remote-StopOption provides the capability to stop the RCL from a remote location, typically from the hump tower
Compatible with CattronConnect™ BELTPACK® systems can be updated and configured remotely using CattronConnect™.

Operator Control Units

The ergonomic control unit, the OCU IIe is 39% smaller and 44% lighter than previous designs. It was developed using human factor design requirements for improved operator comfort and ease-of-use and is a direct result of extensive prototype field-testings and operator input. The OCU IIe housing is made of cast magnesium, making for a lightweight, high impact resistant and highly durable unit.