FRA's Latest PTC Update Shows Progress

Following meetings with all 41 railroads required to implement Positive Train Control technology, FRA reported it is now meeting with PTC suppliers to learn more about their capacity to meet the demands for railroads' implementation of PTC systems.

The Federal Railroad Administration's March 20 update on railroads' program in implementing positive train control systems by the end of 2018 as required indicates that they are making progress. Fifteen of the 41 railroads subject to the mandate reported that, as of Dec. 31, 2017, they have completed installation of all hardware necessary for PTC system implementation, while 11 others reported they have installed more than 80 percent of their PTC system hardware. And all except three railroads reported having acquired sufficient spectrum for their PTC system needs.

"It is the railroads' responsibility to meet the congressionally mandated PTC requirements," FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said. "The FRA is committed to doing its part to ensure railroads and suppliers are working together to implement PTC systems."

FRA's update news release said between Jan. 2 and Feb. 14, 2018, FRA leaders hosted face-to-face meetings with executives from each of the 41 railroads in order to evaluate each railroad's PTC status and learn what still needs to be done to have a PTC system fully implemented by the December deadline or to meet the statutory criteria for an alternative schedule. (Congress allows a railroad to request FRA's approval of an alternate schedule with a deadline beyond Dec. 31, 2018, but no later than Dec. 31, 2020, for certain non-hardware operational aspects of PTC system implementation.)

Following those meetings, FRA reported it is now meeting with PTC suppliers to learn more about their capacity to meet the demands for railroads' implementation of PTC systems.

PTC systems are designed to prevent 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.

FRA infographics with railroads' implementation data for the fourth quarter are available here.

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