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Rail News: Positive Train Control

Amtrak's Boardman calls on Congress, railroads to make PTC a reality as soon as possible

Congress, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the rail industry need to “re-double” their efforts to implement positive train control (PTC) as soon as possible to prevent accidents, such as the deadly commuter-train derailment in New York earlier this month, Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Boardman wrote in opinion-editorial published in Monday’s issue of USA Today.

Amtrak is “on target” to meet the end-of-2015 deadline to install PTC systems along its track and on its locomotives, but still needs the necessary radio spectrum to operate the system, Boardman wrote.

“The nation's railroads are working together to ensure there is interoperability of PTC systems so that safety is maintained as trains travel from one railroad to another,” he said. “However, without additional resources and an increased level of commitment, the federal deadline may not be met.”

PTC systems are operating on 530 track miles along Amtrak-owned sections in the Northeast Corridor and on the Michigan Line, Boardman said.

Congress, the FRA, railroads and other stakeholders need to raise their commitment, provide funding, “act with determination” and eliminate roadblocks to implement PTC on the nation’s railroads as soon as possible, wrote Boardman.

“The upcoming debate on a new federal surface transportation bill is the perfect vehicle to demonstrate our nation's commitment to PTC not only as a vital safety measure, but also because PTC can support additional communication, train management and operational efficiency improvements that the passenger and freight railroads are only now beginning to envision,” he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/17/2013