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IBM Snags 3 Rail Customers In Software Deal

IBM Corp.'s effort to make the nation's critical infrastructure "smarter" is getting a boost this week from three railroad operators that are buying IBM software to manage their repair scheduling.

The deals being announced Wednesday are with the Long Island Rail Road in New York, the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency in San Francisco, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in D.C.

They are part of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM's "smarter planet" push to sell technologies that relay real-time information about the health of key pieces of infrastructure _ from power grids to sewage systems to highways _ back to the companies or government agencies that run them.

IBM said Wednesday that the three rail lines will use IBM software to automate their maintenance scheduling.

The technology allows workers to get alerts about when specific pieces of equipment need repairs, and keeps detailed logs about when past repairs were performed. Mix-ups about when certain parts are due for maintenance can lead to delays that cost rail operators millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Prices for the deals weren't disclosed.