US20140052315A1 - Railway train data recorder with parallel remote online incident data storage - Google Patents

Railway train data recorder with parallel remote online incident data storage Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140052315A1
US20140052315A1 US13/588,117 US201213588117A US2014052315A1 US 20140052315 A1 US20140052315 A1 US 20140052315A1 US 201213588117 A US201213588117 A US 201213588117A US 2014052315 A1 US2014052315 A1 US 2014052315A1
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Prior art keywords
data
train
incident
onboard
system
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US13/588,117
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Aleksandar Isailovski
Volker Knollmann
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Siemens Industry Inc
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Siemens Industry Inc
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Assigned to SIEMENS INDUSTRY, INC. reassignment SIEMENS INDUSTRY, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: ISAILOVSKI, ALEKSANDAR, KNOLLMANN, VOLKER
Publication of US20140052315A1 publication Critical patent/US20140052315A1/en
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    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61LGUIDING RAILWAY TRAFFIC; ENSURING THE SAFETY OF RAILWAY TRAFFIC
    • B61L15/00Indicators provided on the vehicle or vehicle train for signalling purposes ; On-board control or communication systems
    • B61L15/0081On-board diagnosis or maintenance
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61LGUIDING RAILWAY TRAFFIC; ENSURING THE SAFETY OF RAILWAY TRAFFIC
    • B61L15/00Indicators provided on the vehicle or vehicle train for signalling purposes ; On-board control or communication systems
    • B61L15/0018Communication with or on the vehicle or vehicle train
    • B61L15/0027Radio-based, e.g. using GSM-R
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61LGUIDING RAILWAY TRAFFIC; ENSURING THE SAFETY OF RAILWAY TRAFFIC
    • B61L27/00Central traffic control systems ; Track-side control or specific communication systems
    • B61L27/0083Track-side diagnosis or maintenance, e.g. software upgrades
    • B61L27/0094Track-side diagnosis or maintenance, e.g. software upgrades for vehicles or vehicle trains, e.g. trackside supervision of train conditions
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B61RAILWAYS
    • B61LGUIDING RAILWAY TRAFFIC; ENSURING THE SAFETY OF RAILWAY TRAFFIC
    • B61L3/00Devices along the route for controlling devices on the vehicle or vehicle train, e.g. to release brake, to operate a warning signal
    • B61L3/002Recorders on the vehicle

Abstract

Incident, data of the type stored in a railway train crash hardened memory module (CHMM) and/or other information acquired by a railway train data recorder are transmitted to a remote data storage site. Beneficially the remotely stored information transmitted from the train's onboard recorder may be monitored and/or otherwise analyzed without having to wait for a scheduled periodic download of the CHMM. Parallel transmission and remote storage of incident data during train operation eliminates the need to carry a CHMM onboard the train or schedule dedicated incident data downloads while the train is stationary or otherwise out of service. Existing communications equipment for wireless data transmission already onboard the train may be used for the incident data transmission to the remote data storage device.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The invention relates to railway train onboard data recorders that record operational information, such as train speed and position, brake and throttle application, driver actions, sub-system status and diagnostics, messages exchanged between trackside/landside and train side (e.g. via wireless radio communications) and train crew communications. As used herein, the term “train” locomotive alone, locomotive with cars, or an integrated locomotive/car vehicle, (e.g. light rail or subway). More particularly the present invention relates to onboard data recorders that transmit operational information recorder data in substantially real time and optionally other types of information gathered by the data recorder that does not require real-time transmission, to a remote online data storage site.
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art
  • Railway trains are often required to be equipped with onboard data recorders that record mandated operational information for compliance with governmental regulations or railway company policies, such as train speed and position, brake and throttle application, sub-system status and diagnostics, train crew and track-to-train communications, driver actions (e.g., operating certain train control switches) as well as driver interaction with automated train control system by pressing buttons that interact with onboard train systems) and the like (hereafter referred to as “incident data”). In the event of a railway train operational incident, for example a train crash, the recorded incident data are analyzed as part of an incident investigation. Prior to development of compact solid-state recording electronics, incident data were recorded by analog means, such as paper recording strips or discs or on ferromagnetic tape. After development or portable computer technology, onboard data recorders acquired incident data and other types of information, and stored them on hard drives, and later non-volatile solid state-memory devices, such as so-called “flash” drives.
  • Onboard stored incident data are stored and encapsulated in “hardened” memory devices so data integrity is maintained in the event of a train incident. In the United States of America such hardened memory devices are regulated as so-called crash hardened memory modules (CHMM). Some data recorder systems record incident data solely in a CHMM or other type of crash-worthy memory device and others parallel record in a non-hardened, non-volatile memory device (e.g., so-called “flash”) that is coupled to the recorder internally or externally, and an additional CHMM. The CHMM devices are generally constructed of heavy hardened steel, with internal heat insulative layers, and are relatively expensive to manufacture. There are also ongoing service expenses incurred in ongoing use, maintenance, service and inspection of CHMM devices. For example, railway operational regulations often require CHMM periodic inspection and generation of related inspection documentation. There are also service expenses related to incident data download from CHMM devices on a regular basis (not, incident triggered).
  • If data in the hardened memory device was not regularly downloaded, older incident data were overwritten with newer data. To avoid this, it is now a more prevalent trend in the railway industry to download and archive CHMM incident data and other types of information acquired by the onboard recorder on a periodic basis. Maintenance staff manually access the CHMM memory and transfer a copy to another recording device by hardwire data cable or by stationary local wireless transfer trackside when the train is in a railway passenger station, holding pen or maintenance yard. Manual CHMM incident data downloads incur labor costs, and restrict train deployment, during the download cycle.
  • Manual, periodically scheduled incident data downloads merely archive “stale” data about past operational status and miss a potentially important data analysis opportunity. Real-time access to incident data operational information in the CHMM as well as other information acquired by the onboard data recorder would be beneficial for proactive train status monitoring, maintenance forecasting, energy consumption optimization and other railway process optimization tasks, rather than just maintaining archived information for regulatory compliance. Data mining and analysis opportunities are lost if such incident data and/or other information gathered by the onboard data recorder are only available at a much later time after they are physically downloaded during a scheduled maintenance cycle.
  • There is a need in the railway industry to retain recorded train operational incident data in the event of an actual incident, including a crash, without the manufacturing, and servicing costs associated with a relatively expensive crash hardened memory module (CHMM) onboard the train.
  • There is also a need in the railway industry to download incident data normally stored in a CHMM, in a way that does not require taking the train out of service in a stationary location or without dedicated service personnel to perform the download task.
  • There is an additional need in the railway industry to download, and optionally analyze, incident data and other operational information stored in the CHMM and/or otherwise gathered by a data recorder while the train is running, by way of non-limiting example, for: monitoring train operation, identifying potential maintenance issues proactively and scheduling maintenance, or optimizing energy consumption. It is additionally and optionally preferable that CHMM recorded data and other operational information gathered by the train onboard recorder can be downloaded in real time without significant additional equipment purchase or operator training requirements.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Accordingly, an object of the present invention is to retain recorded train operational incident data in the event of crash or other incident without a crash hardened memory module (CHMM) onboard the train.
  • It is also an object of the present invention to download incident, data and/or any other operational information acquired by a train onboard data recorder that is stored in a CHMM without taking the train out of service in a stationary location and without service personnel.
  • An additional object of the present invention is to download incident data of the type stored in a CHMM and/or other operational information acquired by a train onboard data recorder while the train is running with existing train equipment, so that they may be analyzed in real time, if desired, rather than wait for a future scheduled CHMM incident data download.
  • These and other objects are achieved in accordance with the present invention by a system and method for transmitting incident data of the type stored in a railway train crash hardened memory module (CHMM) and/or other information acquired by a railway train data recorder to a remote data storage site. Beneficially the remotely stored information transmitted from the train's onboard recorder may be monitored and/or otherwise analyzed without having to wait for a scheduled periodic download of the CHMM. Parallel transmission and remote storage of incident data during train operation eliminates the need to carry a CHMM onboard the train or schedule dedicated incident data downloads while the train is stationary or otherwise out of service. Existing wireless communications equipment already onboard the train may be used for the transmission of incident data or other information acquired by the data recorder to the remote data storage device.
  • The present invention features a railway train data recording system, including a data recorder onboard a train, for acquiring train incident data in real time. A wireless transmitter is coupled to the data recorder, for transmitting the acquired incident data from the train. A wireless receiver is located off the train, for receiving the acquired incident data transmitted by the transmitter. A remote data storage device is coupled to the wireless receiver for storing the acquired incident data.
  • The present invention also features a method for acquiring and remotely storing train incident data by acquiring train incident data in real time with a data recorder located onboard a train. The acquired incident data are transmitted from the train with a wireless transmitter coupled to the data recorder. A wireless receiver located off the train receives the acquired incident data transmitted by the transmitter. The received acquired incident data are stored in a remote data storage device coupled to the wireless receiver.
  • The present invention additionally features a computer software storage medium apparatus, comprising non-transient software stored in a non-volatile storage medium for operating a railway train data recording system data recorder that is controlled by a processor coupled to a memory device. The data recorder is capable of retrieving and storing a copy of the software from the medium, which in turn causes the processor to execute said software to acquire train incident data from a train in real time with an onboard data recorder running the software. When executing the software the acquired incident data are transmitted from the train with a wireless transmitter coupled to the data recorder, so that at least one or more single or networked wireless receivers located at a remote site off the train can receive the acquired incident data for subsequent storage in a remote data storage device coupled to them.
  • The objects and features of the present invention may be applied jointly or severally in any combination or sub-combination by those skilled in the art.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The teachings of the present invention can be readily understood by considering the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic of a railway system, showing communications interrelationship among a train, operations control station and track wayside interface units;
  • FIG. 2 is an onboard train control system general schematic drawing showing interaction of train subsystems, including a data recorder;
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic of a train control system or data recording system computer or controller used to operate the respective controllers; and
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic view showing interrelationship of a train onboard systems, data recording system and communications system.
  • To facilitate understanding, identical reference numerals have been used, where possible, to designate identical elements that are common to the figures.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • After considering the following description, those skilled in the art will clearly realize that the teachings of the present invention can be readily utilized in a system and method for transmitting incident data of the type stored in a railway train hardened memory module, including by way for example a crash hardened memory module (CHMM) and/or other information acquired by a railway train data recorder to a remote data storage site. Beneficially the remotely stored information transmitted from the train's onboard recorder may be monitored and/or otherwise analyzed without having to wait for a scheduled periodic download of the CHMM. Parallel transmission and remote storage of incident data during train operation eliminates the need to carry a CHMM onboard the train or schedule dedicated incident data downloads while the train is stationary or otherwise out of service. Existing wireless data/communications equipment already onboard the train may be used for the transmission of incident data or other information acquired by the data recorder to the remote data storage device. “Real-time” transmission includes transmission with insignificant delay that does not materially compromise incident data storage necessary for subsequent analysis of an incident event.
  • FIG. 1 shows generally a railway system with fixed tracks 10 and wayside interface units (WIU) 15 arrayed along the trackside that gather for or transmit information among other system components, an operations control station 20 and one or more trains 40 via a communications system (COMM SYSTEM) 30, with base station 30′. The operations control station 20 includes a server/gateway 22 or other electronic information processing command and control system and data storage 24 cooled thereto. The communications system 30 may include a wireless track-train-control station network 30 a and a wired-wireless landside network 30 b that may include fiber optic 31 or other known communications data transmission network, including by way of example the Internet, as well as wireless terrestrial antennae 32 or wireless satellite communication 34. The train 40 includes a wireless data/communications system 42 that is capable of transmitting and receiving wireless data, which is in communication with the communications system wireless track-train-control station network 30 a.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, the train transmitter and receiver communications system 42 is communicatively coupled directly or indirectly to an onboard train management system (TMS) 50. The train 40 also has an onboard data recording system (DRS) 60 of known design, with one or more associated memory storage devices 64, for among other things acquiring, processing, organizing, formatting and recording incident data, as may be required for governmental regulatory compliance and/or railway operating company internal policy. Generally the types of incident data commonly acquired in a data recording system include: train speed and position, brake and throttle application, sub-system status and diagnostics, train crew and track-to-train communications, driver actions (e.g., operating certain train control switches) as well as driver interaction with automated train control system by pressing buttons on the driver display) and the like (hereafter referred to as “incident data”). The DRS 60 may also optionally record other types of information other than incident data. The DRS 60 may format incident data and other information into transmission formats that include communications data security, integrity, and peer authentication features in conformity with railway operational regulations and standards, including by way of non-limiting example known checksums, hash values or cryptographic algorithms based on symmetric or asymmetric keys. The “secured” information may be subsequently transmitted—preferably in real time or with small delay that does not negatively impact ability to preserve incident data in the event of a train incident—to the operations control center 20 or other remote receiving site by way of the wireless data communications system 42. It is noted that the wireless data communications system 42 is directly or indirectly communicatively coupled to the data recording system 60. The DRS 60 function may be incorporated as a subsystem within another train onboard system, such as the train management system (TMS) 50, rather than as a separate stand-alone device.
  • As also shown in FIG. 2, train 40 generally has subsystems, including drive system 72 that provides driving force to one or more wheel carriages, and brake system 74 for altering train speed. The on-board train management system (TMS) 50 is the principal electronic control device for all other controlled train subsystems, including the navigation position system (NPS) 82A with associated train location detection system 82B that provides train position and speed information. Other subsystems include throttle control that causes the drive system 72 (e.g., more or less throttled speed) and receives commands from the TMS 50. The brake system 74 causes the brakes to brake the train 40. The brake system 74 also receives commands from the TMS 50. Other train cars and/or tandem locomotives 40′ optionally may be in communication with the TMS 50 or other subsystems in train 40, such as for coordination of braking and throttle control. The train 40 also has a train crew human-machine interface (HMI) 90 that has an electronic display screen 91 and operator actuated brake B and throttle T controls (one or both of which are used by the operator depending upon the train operating conditions), so that the train operator can drive the train. The HMI 90 communicates with the TMS 50 via communications data bus 92, though other known communications pathways can be substituted for the data bus when implementing other known control system architectures. The HMI 90 communicates train operator respective throttle T and brake B control commands to the respective engine control 72 and the brake system 74.
  • In this exemplary embodiment, each of the TMS train control system 50, the data recording system (DRS) 60 and the HMI 90 have internal computer/controller platforms 100 of known design that communicate with each other via data bus 92. However the number of computer controllers, their location and their distributed functions may be altered as a matter of design choice. In this exemplary embodiment, general control of train 40 subsystems is performed by TMS 50 and the controller platform 100 therein; the data recording functions are performed by the data recording system 60 and the controller platform 100 therein; and the HMI functions are performed by HMI 90 and the controller platform 100 therein, though any of these systems 50, 60, 90 may be combined in part or in whole.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, a physical or virtual controller platform 100 includes a processor 110 and a controller bus 120 in communication therewith. Processor 110 is coupled to one or more internal or external memory devices 130 that include therein operating system 140 and application program 150 software module instruction sets that are accessed and executed by the processor, and cause its respective control device (e.g., TMS 50, DRS 60 or HMI 90) to perform control operations over their respective associated subsystems.
  • While reference to an exemplary controller platform 100 architecture and implementation by software modules executed by the processor 110, it is also to be understood that the present invention may be implemented in various forms of hardware, software, firmware, special purpose processors, or a combination thereof. Preferably, aspects of the present invention are implemented in software as a program tangibly embodied on a program storage device. The program may be uploaded to, and executed by, a machine comprising any suitable architecture. Preferably, the machine is implemented on a computer platform having hardware such as one or more central processing units (CPU), a random access memory (RAM), and input/output (I/0) interface(s). The computer platform 100 also includes an operating system and microinstruction code. The various processes and functions described herein may either be part of the microinstruction code or part of the program (or combination thereof) which is executed via the operating system. In addition, various other peripheral devices may be connected to the computer/controller platform 100.
  • It is to be understood that, because some of the constituent system components and method steps depicted in the accompanying figures are preferably implemented in software, the actual connections between the system components (or the process steps) may differ depending upon the manner in which the present invention is programmed. Specifically, any of the computer platforms or devices may be interconnected using any existing or later-discovered networking technology and may also all be connected through a larger network system, such as a corporate network, metropolitan network or a global network, such as the Internet.
  • Computer/controller platform 100 receives input communications from one or more input devices I via respective communications pathways I′ through input interface 160, that in turn can distribute the input information via the controller bus 120. The controller platform 100 also has a communications interface 170 for communication with other controllers or a shared external data bus, such as the data bus 92. Output interface 180 facilitates communication with one or more output devices O via associated communications pathways O′.
  • In the present invention the computer/controller platform 100 in TMS train control system 50 is associated with input devices I/associated input communications pathways I′ that include the navigation position system (NPS) 82A, 82B and an onboard unit (OBU) 51 that intervenes in train speed control and braking in the event that the train operator fails to follow local track speed and stopping mandates. Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 2, the OBU 51 may be networked with the TMS 50 via the data bus 92. TMS output devices O/associated output communications pathways O′ that are associated with that computer/controller platform 100 include override communications to the engine control 72 and brake system 74 that are normally under command of the OBU 51, that in turn may be networked with the TMS 50.
  • Similarly in the present invention, the computer/controller platform 100 in HMI system 90 is associated with input devices I/associated input communications pathways I′ that include the human operated throttle T an Brake controls B and any touch screen input functions of display 91. Output devices O/associated output communications pathways O′ that are associated with the HMI System 90 computer/controller platform 100 include the engine control 72 and the brake system 74.
  • Similarly in the present invention, referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the computer/controller platform 100 in data recording system 60 is associated with input devices I/associated input communications pathways I′ that include: real-time acquired incident data and other types of acquired information, directly via dedicated input devices (not shown) or passed through the TMS 50 via data bus 92 Output devices O/associated output communications pathways O′ that are associated with the DRS 50 computer/controller platform 100 include incident data and, optionally, other information for storage in the data storage device(s) 64 that may include a hardened memory module, such as a crash-hardened memory module 56 of known construction (for example, if a regulatory authority requires redundant CHMM incident data storage despite availability of real-time or insignificantly delayed online data storage at a secure remote site). Other output communications include real-time or insignificantly delayed outbound incident data and other information intended for real-time transmission by the onboard wireless transmitter/receiver 42 to the control station 20, for remote online storage on memory device 24. In FIG. 4, output communication from the DRS 60 to the transmitter/receiver 42 is via data bus 92, though other communications pathways known in the art may be utilized.
  • Information other than incident data may be accumulated by the DRS 60 for subsequent transmission to the command station 20, as may be needed or within a defined non-peak hours communications transmission traffic time schedule for efficient use of communications system 30 wireless bandwidth and transmission capacity. Incident data and other information received and stored in the command station remote data storage device(s) 24 may be monitored and analyzed upon receipt. Thus all types of information received and accumulated in the remote data storage devices may be used to make current train system operational decisions without having to wait until a later date for receipt of the information after being manually downloaded from a data recording system CHMM by a train maintenance crew.
  • Although various embodiments which incorporate the teachings of the present invention have been shown and described in detail herein, those skilled in the art can readily devise many other varied embodiments that still incorporate these teachings.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A railway train data recording system, comprising:
a data recorder onboard a train, for acquiring train incident data;
an onboard communications system for wireless data transmission that is communicatively coupled to the data recorder, for transmitting the acquired incident data from the train;
an off-train communications system for wireless data transmission, s, for receiving the acquired incident data transmitted by the transmitter; and
a remote data storage device coupled to the wireless receiver.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising an onboard data storage device coupled to the data recorder, for real-time parallel storage of the incident data acquired by the data recorder therein.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein the onboard data storage device is a crash hardened memory module (CHMM) storing incident data acquired by the data recorder and both the type of incident data and the type of CHMM device are mandated by train regulatory authorities.
4. The system of claim 3, wherein the incident data are selected from the group consisting of train speed and position, brake and throttle application, sub-system status and diagnostics, train crew and track-to-train communications, or driver actions.
5. The system of claim 1, wherein acquired incident data received by the off-train communications system are monitored in real time and railway operational decisions are made based thereon.
6. The system of claim 1, wherein the data recorder acquires information in addition to incident data that is accumulated for subsequent transmission by the onboard communications system.
7. The system of claim 1 wherein incident data are transmitted by the onboard communications system in formats selected from the group consisting of communications data security, sender authentication, encryption and data integrity features.
8. A method for acquiring and remotely storing train incident data, comprising:
acquiring train incident data in real time with a data recorder located onboard a train;
transmitting the acquired incident data from the train with an onboard communications system for wireless data transmission that is communicatively coupled to the data recorder;
receiving the acquired incident data transmitted by the onboard communications system with an off-train communications system for wireless data transmission; and
storing the received acquired incident data in a remote data storage device coupled to the wireless receiver.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising storing the incident data acquired by the data recorder in real time in an onboard data storage device that is coupled to the data recorder.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the onboard data storage device is a crash hardened memory module (CHMM) storing incident data acquired by the data recorder and both the type of incident data and the type of CHMM device are mandated by train regulatory authorities.
11. The method of claim 10, wherein the incident data are selected from the group consisting of train speed and position, brake and throttle application, sub-system status and diagnostics, train crew and track-to-train communications, or driver actions.
12. The method of claim 8, further comprising monitoring in real time the acquired incident data received, by the receiver an off-train communications system and making railway operational decisions based thereon.
13. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
acquiring information in addition to incident data with the data recorder; and
accumulating the additional information with the data recorder for subsequent transmission by the onboard communications system.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising transmitting the accumulated additional information with the onboard communications system.
15. The method of claim 8, wherein incident data are transmitted by the onboard communications system in formats selected from the group consisting of communications data security, sender authentication, encryption and data integrity features.
16. A computer software storage medium apparatus, comprising:
non-transient software stored in a non-volatile storage medium for operating a railway train data recording system that is controlled by a processor coupled to a memory device, the data recording system capable of retrieving and storing a copy of said software from said medium and causing said processor to execute said software to:
acquire train incident data from a train in real time with an onboard data recording system running the software;
transmit the acquired incident data from the train with an onboard communications system for wireless data transmission communicatively coupled to the data recorder to an off-train communications system for wireless data transmission that receives the acquired incident data, wherein the received acquired incident data are stored in a remote data storage device coupled to the wireless receiver.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the executed software causes the data recording system to store the incident data acquired thereby in real time in an onboard data storage device that is coupled to the data recording system
18. The apparatus of claim 17, wherein the onboard data storage device is a crash hardened memory module (CHMM) storing incident data acquired by the data recording system.
19. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the executed software causes the data recording system to acquire information in addition to incident data and accumulate the additional information for subsequent transmission by the onboard communications system.
20. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the executed software causes the data recorder to format the incident data formats selected from the group consisting of communications data security, sender authentication, encryption and data integrity features.
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