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MTA Metro-North Railroad yesterday announced it was awarded a grant up to $2.3 million from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to help support positive train control (PTC) communications testing.Distributed through the FRA's Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, the grant will help the commuter railroad improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), Metro-North officials said in a press release. The railroad plans to establish a test lab to help investigate radio spectrum issues and better meet the challenges of making PTC operationally reliable along the NEC, such as by avoiding interference. The lab will feature a series of networked computer stations to simulate how radio communications will operate and help determine how to mitigate problems. "This test lab will allow us to move ahead with full PTC implementation and ensure ongoing service reliability," said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. "We'll continue to aggressively look for new and better ways to improve safety throughout the railroad."U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) helped Metro-North secure the federal grant."We need PTC up and running ASAP, and this investment will help Metro-North and other railroads clear some of the remaining hurdles to get that done," said Maloney.