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5.25-inch floppy disks expected to help run San Francisco trains until 2030

April 17, 2024
Ars Technica
Summary
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) plans to update its train control system by moving away from the antiquated 5¼-inch floppy disks currently in use, a decision expected to be finalized by 2030. Since its implementation in 1998, the system, which includes both on-board and central components, has relied on these floppy disks for loading essential software, despite having exceeded its intended lifespan. Initial planning for this technological overhaul began in 2018 but was delayed due to COVID-19, with a now anticipated completion towards the end of the next decade. This move aims to mitigate the increasing risks associated with data degradation and the potential for system failure, all while addressing the challenge of maintaining a workforce skilled in outdated technology. The SFMTA is committed to training current staff on the new system and hiring additional specialized personnel, ensuring a seamless transition while enhancing overall system reliability and efficiency.
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