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Rail News: Positive Train Control

FRA: PTC operating on 56 percent freight route miles

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory
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Positive train control (PTC) systems are operating on about 56 percent of freight railroads' route miles that are required to be governed by PTC systems, up from 45 percent in third-quarter 2017 and 16 percent on Dec. 31, 2016, the Federal Railroad Administration announced yesterday.

Passenger railroads have made less progress, with PTC systems in operation on 24 percent of required route miles as of Q4 2017 — the same as in Q3 2017, FRA officials said in a press release.

The Q4 2017 data also show that railroads have made progress in installing PTC system hardware, with 15 railroads reporting they have completed hardware installation necessary for PTC implementation. Another 11 railroads reported they've installed more than 80 percent of PTC hardware.

In addition, all but three railroads reported they've acquired sufficient spectrum for their PTC needs.

At the direction of U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the FRA is taking a "proactive approach" to make sure railroads acquire, install, test and fully implement certified PTC systems in time to meet the "interim deadline" of Dec. 31, FRA officials said.

"It is the railroads' responsibility to meet the congressionally mandated PTC requirements," said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory. "The FRA is committed to doing its part to ensure railroads and suppliers are working together to implement PTC systems."

FRA leadership hosted face-to-face meetings in January and February with executives from 41 railroads required to implement PTC. The meetings' purpose was to evaluate each road's PTC status and learn what remaining steps are necessary to meet the December deadline, or, at a minimum, to meet the statutory criteria to qualify for an alternative schedule, FRA officials said.

As a result of those meetings, FRA staff are now meeting with PTC suppliers to learn more about their capacity to meet demand for railroads' PTC implementation "in a timely manner," FRA officials said.

For more information on the railroads' PTC status in Q4 2017, see this link to the FRA's website.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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