FRA details positive train control milestone

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Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) personnel recently espoused the benefits of positive train control (PTC) technology being operational on required freight and passenger railroad route miles.

The requirement to address 57,536 route miles occurred before the Dec. 31, 2020, statutory deadline established by Congress. The FRA certified each host railroad’s PTC system complies with the technical requirements for PTC systems.

“Achieving 100 percent PTC implementation is a tremendous accomplishment and reflects the Department’s top priorities – safety, innovation, and infrastructure,” Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

Authorities indicated interoperability has been achieved between each applicable host and tenant railroad operating on PTC-governed main lines.

“On behalf of extraordinary professionals at FRA and myself, I congratulate the railroads, particularly their frontline workers, as well as PTC system suppliers and vendors on this transformative accomplishment,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. “Furthermore, many industry associations, including the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, American Public Transportation Association, Commuter Rail Coalition, National Railroad Construction, and Maintenance Association, Railway Supply Institute, and Railway Systems Suppliers, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting this unprecedented undertaking.”

PTC systems are designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movements of trains through switches left in the wrong position.

“PTC is a critical piece and new dimension of safety in the railroad industry, but it does not take the place of the men and women who operate and maintain freight and passenger trains,” Batory said. “At its core, PTC is a risk reduction system that will make a safe industry even safer and provide a solid foundation upon which additional safety improvements will be realized.”