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Rail News Home Positive Train Control

4/4/2012



Rail News: Positive Train Control

Congressmen seek more federal funding for PTC research, emergency response training


Reps. Scott Tipton (D-Colo.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) recently sent a joint letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies voicing support for the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) research and development efforts regarding communications-based train control (CBTC) and vital positive train control (VPTC). The letter addressed to subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member John Olver (D-Mass.) also encourages more federal funding for the FRA’s R&D work in those areas.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members believe CBTC and VPTC “have tremendous future potential” to improve rail safety and address rail capacity constraints, Tipton and Lipinski wrote.

“However, the previously funded VPTC R&D projects also show there remains a number of technological challenges in various areas, such as braking algorithms, broken rail and obstacle detection, train integrity failure detection and digital track warrants,” they wrote. “It is critical that the FRA continues to dedicate resources towards addressing those key issues. Project elements should include important components, such as moving block technologies utilizing inertial navigation sensors.”

Tipton also sent a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) urging the allocation of adequate federal funding in fiscal-year 2013 for surface transportation emergency response training, such as the training programs offered at the Transportation Technology Center Inc. in Pueblo, Colo.

“While much attention has been paid to preparing for biological, chemical or nuclear events, I remain concerned that insufficient notice has been given to the training needs for events that could occur on the nation’s transportation system,” Tipton wrote. “These include scenarios not only affecting the movement of critical commerce and chemicals vital to the nation’s water supply, but also the movement of large numbers of passengers and commuters by rail.”


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