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Rail News: Positive Train Control

MTA committees call for speeding up PTC installation on Metro-North, LIRR; authority to consider LIRR bridge plan


Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) committees yesterday approved a contract expansion with a Bombardier Transportation/Siemens Rail Automation joint venture that would expedite positive train control (PTC) installation at Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).

The expansion would add $11.3 million to a $428.5 million contract awarded in November 2013 to the joint venture to serve as the MTA's PTC system integrator, according to an MTA press release.

"Bearing in mind that the safety of our customers is the top priority of the MTA and its railroads, we are taking careful steps to accelerate the implementation of this important technology," said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast. "Positive train control will provide a strong layer of safety over our existing systems."

The amended contract would expedite by up to nearly two years the retrofitting of 836 LIRR and 474 Metro-North rail cars to enable them to send and receive PTC signals. Those retrofits will now be completed by April 2017.

The amended contract also will allow the railroads to deploy equipment at 175 locations alongside the tracks that will facilitate communication between the PTC central computers and the computers on board trains. This move will expedite by up to one year PTC installation in a territory covering 85 percent to 90 percent of the railroads’ riders.

To learn about other railroads' recent efforts to install PTC, read this article that appeared in the April issue of Progressive Railroading.

Meanwhile, MTA's board yesterday received a $39.2 million plan to construct a new bridge over LIRR racks at Ellison Avenue in Westbury, Long Island. The project would replace a deteriorating span for that has been used by cars, trucks and pedestrians for 73 years.

LIRR began planning for a new bridge after experts determined that the structure was at the end of its useful life. Currently, 90 percent of the deck of the Ellison Avenue Bridge is covered with steel plates and New York State Department of Transportation has found serious deterioration in the structure, MTA officials said.

The proposal was sent to the Long Island Committee and is set to go to the full MTA board for a vote scheduled for tomorrow. Approval would clear the way for LIRR to issue a request for proposals for a contractor to demolish the old bridge, and design and build a new span to LIRR’s specifications by 2016.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/29/2014