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The Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board next month will consider approval of a contract with Wabtec Railway Electronics Inc. to complete a federally mandated project to roll out a positive train control (PTC) upgrade to Caltrain's signal system.The new contract would complete Caltrain's PTC project after the railroad terminated a contract last year with Parsons Transportation Group for nonperformance "after many months of delay and repeated failure by the contractor to correct performance issues," Caltrain officials said in a press release.Caltrain originally awarded the contract to Parsons in 2011."Upon terminating the contract, Caltrain took steps to ensure that progress toward completion of the project would continue while strategies for replacing the original contractor were evaluated," Caltrain officials said. "This evaluation determined that Wabtec's PTC technology is the only technically and financially viable strategy to ensure that the Caltrain corridor is equipped with this important safety enhancement at the earliest possible time."If approved at the board's March 1 meeting, the new contract would complete the PTC project for a price not to exceed $49.5 million, an amount that would be covered by the $59 million available to complete the project. Railroad officials anticipate additional funding will be needed to fully deliver the project. They are defining those needs and searching for potential funding sources.Railroads face a Dec. 31 deadline under federal law to have a PTC system in place. Under certain circumstances, railroads may qualify for an extension to 2020 to fully implement PTC.To comply with federal requirements and avoid fines or the halting of service by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the contract specifies that PTC equipment will be installed on all equipment used for Caltrain service by the end of this year, Caltrain officials said.Once installed, additional steps are needed to demonstrate that the PTC system is fully functioning throughout the corridor. The contract stipulates that Caltrain and Wabtec will work with the FRA to define and complete those steps as soon as possible, Caltrain officials added.
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