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Rail News: Positive Train Control

Feds award PTC grants to Amtrak, Metra and NJ Transit

Workers remain busy in Metra's PTC lab.
Photo – Metra


U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) yesterday announced $9.16 million in federal funding toward the installation of positive train control (PTC) along Amtrak's Southwest Chief line between Dodge City, Kansas, and Las Animas, Colorado.

The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program. The Colorado and Kansas departments of transportation and Amtrak applied for the grant.

"This federal investment will help to make critical safety improvements along the Southwest Chief line,” said Bennet in a press release. “Our federal, state, and local governments are committed to preserving this vital component to southeastern Colorado's economy, and we will continue to partner with them and Amtrak to keep the route running."

Colorado, Kansas and Amtrak together contributed a 20 percent match — or $2.29 million — to the federal government's 80 percent contribution toward the PTC project's cost, according to the press release.

PTC will be installed across 179 miles of the mostly single-track route between Dodge City and Las Animas. Located in BNSF Railway Co.'s La Junta Subdivision, the territory is one of the remaining segments without PTC on the long-distance route.

The grant is the latest effort toward maintaining service on the Southwest Chief line. In August, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment to provide $50 million for maintenance and safety improvements along the route and require Amtrak to fulfill its promise to fund improvements along the line, according to Bennet's office.

In October, Amtrak officials told Congress they planned to maintain rail service as-is through fiscal-year 2019, which ends Oct. 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) announced Metra will receive $2,058,163 in federal funding from the USDOT for PTC implementation.

“Implementing PTC is vitally important to ensuring that our railroads have the highest level of safety for millions of riders and workers in Illinois and around the country. This technology will save lives,” said Durbin in a statement.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) announced the USDOT awarded $6.5 million to New Jersey Transit for PTC implementation.

"This funding can help make sure that our commuters are able to ride NJ Transit with more confidence," he said in a statement.

To learn more about Amtrak's, Metra's and other railroads' PTC installation challenges and progress, read this article from Progressive Railroading’s October issue.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/21/2018