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Rail News: Positive Train Control

Fatal Metro-North derailment prompts more calls for PTC


In the wake of last week's fatal derailment on MTA Metro-North Railroad, rail industry organizations and U.S. members of Congress have been advocating for the implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems on major passenger-rail lines.

In a letter to U.S. Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last week reiterated her call for PTC.

Feinstein was the author of earlier legislation that requires PTC deployment on all major rail lines.

"According to experts at the National Transportation Safety Board, a properly functioning positive train control crash-avoidance system would very likely have prevented the deadly Metro-North derailment on Sunday," Feinstein wrote. "PTC systems would also have prevented the 2008 Southern California Metrolink crash that killed 25 Californians."

Also last week, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) National President Dennis Pierce issued a statement calling for PTC implementation. BLET does not currently represent locomotive engineers at Metro-North.

"This life-saving technology provides a safety overlay that assists locomotive engineers as they approach speed restrictions as well as required stops," Pierce said. "History has shown that positive train control could have prevented many of the fatalities and injuries suffered across the country by railroad employees and the general public. The BLET will continue in our efforts to see that this technology is implemented as soon as possible."

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More News from 12/9/2013