Several railroad grade crossings will get flashing lights and gates as a result of nearly $10 million from the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program.

PTC Progress Report Released

Amtrak's "significant" progress on positive train control means 41 percent of passenger railroads' locomotives are fully equipped with PTC technology, while freight railroads' percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology rose to 42 percent by Dec. 31, 2016, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

The Federal Railroad Administration's latest status report on railroads' progress implementing positive train control technology is out, covering the fourth quarter of 2016, and it shows passenger rail and freight rail are about even in terms of equipping locomotives. The report is based on railroad-submitted quarterly data and show that, as of Dec. 31, 2016, freight railroads had PTC active on just 16 percent of tracks required to be equipped with PTC systems—up from 12 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads increased slightly to 24 percent from 23 percent as of that date.

Amtrak's "significant" progress on PTC means 41 percent of passenger railroads' locomotives are fully equipped with PTC technology, while freight railroads' percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology rose to 42 percent, according to the agency.

"We continue to closely monitor railroads' progress implementing Positive Train Control," said Patrick Warren, FRA's executive director. "With less than two years remaining to complete the implementation process, it is imperative that railroads continue to meet implementation milestones."

PTC technologies are designed to prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and trains going to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position. Congress required Class I railroads and those providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to implement PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2018. If some key implementation and installation milestones are met, railroads are eligible to obtain a limited extension to complete certain non-hardware, operational aspects of PTC system implementation no later than Dec. 31, 2020, subject to the secretary of Transportation's approval.

Since 2008, when Congress first mandated PTC system implementation on certain railroad main lines, FRA has provided more than $716 million in grants to support railroads' implementation of these systems.

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