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Rail News: Positive Train Control

FRA: PTC now operating on 92 percent of route miles

“We remain steadfast in compelling and assisting railroads to successfully complete all steps necessary for full PTC implementation,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory.
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Positive train control (PTC) systems were operating on 92.4 percent of all federally required route miles as of Sept. 30, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced yesterday in its latest report on railroads' PTC implementation status.

Based on the railroads' third-quarter PTC reports, the FRA reported that the majority of 42 railroads subject to the federal PTC mandate are operating PTC systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstrations, as of Sept. 30.

All affected railroads have committed under federal law to implementing PTC systems on the required mainlines by Dec. 31, 2020, if not earlier. To date, four host railroads and three tenant-only, commuter railroads reported having fully implemented PTC, FRA officials said in a press release.

Specifically, Class Is reported that PTC is in operation on 51,222 (95.4 percent) of their required route miles, a 4 percent increase since Q2. Host commuter railroads reported they're operating PTC systems in revenue service on approximately 1,310 (42 percent) of their 3,129 required route miles, a 5 percent increase since Q2.

Amtrak, as a host railroad on and near the Northeast Corridor and other parts of the country, reported that about 899 (99.8 percent) of nearly 901 required route miles are governed by a PTC system.

Also, by law, six short line, regional or terminal railroads must implement PTC on their mainlines that provide or host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter-rail passenger transportation.

One of the six has been operating its FRA-certified and interoperable PTC system in revenue service since 2018; one began revenue service demonstration on its PTC-required main line during Q3; and the other four are conducting field testing on the general rail network in preparation for revenue service, the FRA said.

“We remain steadfast in compelling and assisting railroads to successfully complete all steps necessary for full PTC implementation,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. “The magnitude of this undertaking is immense, but putting PTC systems into operation demands diligence and a continued sense of urgency.”

Meanwhile, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) yesterday provided its take on the Q3 PTC reports by noting that 97 percent of the 30 required commuter railroads are PTC certified, in revenue service demonstration or field testing.

Specifically, 50 percent are in revenue service demonstration; 37 percent are PTC certified or operating with PTC; 10 percent are in field testing; and 3 percent are preparing for field testing.

"The commuter-rail industry is strongly focused and committed to completing full implementation by December 2020," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas in a press release.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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