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All railroads subject to the federal positive train control (PTC) mandate are currently operating PTC systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced today.
As of Sept. 30, PTC technology remains yet to be activated on about 223 required route miles, based on railroads' third-quarter 2020 PTC progress reports, which were due Oct. 31, FRA officials said in a press release.
"Full implementation of PTC is in sight, owing to everyone's unparalleled cooperation and determination," said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory.
Railroads subject to the PTC mandate are facing a Dec. 31 deadline to complete implementation.
As of Sept. 30, PTC systems were in advanced field testing — also known as revenue service demonstration (RSD) — or in operation on 57,314 route miles, which is 99.6% of the 57,537 route miles subject to the mandate. That represents a 0.8 percentage point increase since Q2 and indicates PTC technology was activated on an additional 468 miles during Q3, FRA officials said.
The FRA previously reported that PTC systems are now governing operations on all PTC-mandated main lines owned or controlled by Class Is and other freight host railroads. Based on railroads' Q3 reports, 92.3% of commuter railroads' mandated route miles are governed by PTC, a 16.2 percent point increase since the previous quarter.
Additionally, Amtrak reported that as of Sept. 30, a PTC system is now operating on all mandated main lines that the railroad owns or controls, which represents a 0.03 percentage point increase since FRA's last status update.
Moreover, railroads have made additional gains toward completing interoperability testing and meeting interoperability requirements under the federal statute and FRA regulations, FRA officials said. As of Q3, host railroads reported that interoperability had been achieved by 84% of the 219 applicable host-tenant railroad relationships — an 18.6 percentage point increase since Q2.
Based on criteria the FRA uses to evaluate the risk of noncompliance, the FRA now considers one railroad — New Jersey Transit — at risk of not fully implementing PTC technology on all its required main lines by Dec. 31. As of Sept. 30, NJ Transit was operating a PTC system in RSD on about 48% of its 375.9 mandated route miles, FRA officials said.
The federal agency continues to direct additional resources and technical assistance to NJ Transit, including on-site support to oversee and expedite testing and RSD.
To learn more about Class Is' PTC implementation efforts, read this article in Progressive Railroading's November issue.