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Rail News: Passenger Rail

FRA unveils PTC grant program; Amtrak accelerates PTC installation work


Today, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced it will begin accepting grant applications April 9 for the deployment of positive train control (PTC) systems and complementary advanced technologies under a new $50 milion rail safety technology program.

Eligible applicants include passenger and freight railroads, railroad suppliers, and state and local governments.

The program requires that the funded PTC projects or related systems be ready for deployment within 24 months of the grant award.

The FRA will give preference to collaborative projects sponsored by multiple railroads and public authorities that satisfy one or more specific objectives, particularly interoperability, FRA officials said in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, Amtrak plans to expand its existing PTC technology to cover all of the tracks it owns along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and on its Michigan Line by the end of 2012 — three years ahead of the federal deadline.

Amtrak also is working with freight and commuter railroads that operate on Amtrak-owned tracks, as well as with the host railroads on whose tracks Amtrak trains operate, to ensure PTC systems are interoperable.

Currently, Amtrak uses an Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System on many sections of track along the NEC between Washington, D.C., and Boston; and an Incremental Train Control System on most of its Michigan Line between Kalamazoo and Porter, Ind.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires the deployment of interoperable PTC systems on mainline tracks that carry passenger trains or Poison Inhalation Hazard/Toxic Inhalation Hazard materials by Dec. 31, 2015.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/7/2010