This photo shows the highly sophisticated cutting edge notebook PC that management provided us with:
It is used to test a vital piece of equipment called the “Remote Terminal Unit” or RTU:
The RTU carries ‘status’ and ‘control’ data and is a sort of interface between the field and the computers downtown. The bits that it sends and receives are used to control third rail power and ventilation fans, indicate the location of trains (for Central Control’s display), etc.
We were all actually quite amazed that this notebook continued to work with the display hinges broken and wiring the only thing connecting it to the main portion of the notebook. We were always careful to set it up in a chair so that we could rest the display against the back.
Lack of proper test equipment has always been a problem in ATC, and I assume other depts as well.