PTC deadline will slip, FRA admits

Photo: Pi.1415926535/ CC BY-SA 3.0.

US authority the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has admitted that most of the country’s rail routes will miss the December deadline for positive train control (PTC).

In a report to Congress, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “We will continue to do everything in our power to help railroads install this technology.”

In March, a bill was introduced to the US Senate seeking to extend the deadline for Positive Train Control (PTC) to 2020.

In 2008, the Rail Safety Improvement Act made it mandatory for all passenger railways to have some kind of PTC system in place by December 31, 2015.

PTC uses GPS systems to monitor a train’s position on the network. By doing so it can automatically intervene to avoid collisions with other trains, slow vehicles travelling at excessive speeds and stop trains from entering closed sections of track or travelling through a switch which is in the wrong position.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) first began highlighting the benefits of PTC in 1969.

Since setting the December 2015 deadline, the FRA has issued a $1 billion loan to MTA to install PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North and in 2010, it set up a PTC taskforce.