PATH Completes Positive Train Control Installation

PTC is one component of Communication Based Train Control, described as a more comprehensive signal system that is currently being installed to replace a fixed-block system that limits the movement of trains from one section to the next. CBTC calculates and communicates a train's exact position, speed, travel direction, and safe braking distance.

PATH, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson train system serving the New York City area, announced Dec. 4 that it is the first regional rail system to achieve compliance with the federal mandate of installing Positive Train Control (PTC) technology by the deadline of Dec. 31. The technology is designed to prevent derailments and collisions.

The Federal Railroad Administration has certified that PATH's system-wide signal upgrade has met the federal regulatory requirements for PTC; the announcement said PATH is the first railroad system in the region and one of the first in the country to meet the PTC requirements by the deadline.

The FRA certification followed extensive testing and review by the federal oversight agency and affirms PATH and the Port Authority's compliance with all technical and operational elements of the PTC mandate. The new technology provides automatic emergency braking capabilities on each line to prevent accidents such as train-to-train collisions and derailments caused by excessive speed.

PATH scheduled weekend station and service outages between early June and the end of October 2018 to complete the process of installing and testing equipment and software. The new PTC-mandated signal system is now operational on all PATH lines.

"The Port Authority and PATH have worked diligently to ensure that we continue to provide exceptional safety and security for all of our customers," said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O'Toole. "What this will mean in the long term is a safer passenger experience for PATH riders that meets the most rigorous federal safety standards."

"A system for which safety has always been the top priority is now even safer," added Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. "This is an important moment in PATH's commitment to provide the highest level of safety to the riding public, and we thank all riders for their patience as PATH has installed this critical technology."

The release said PTC is one component of Communication Based Train Control, described as a more comprehensive signal system that is currently being installed to replace a fixed-block system that limits the movement of trains from one section to the next. CBTC calculates and communicates a train's exact position, speed, travel direction, and safe braking distance. As installation of this new signal system continues, regular software updates and patches required by the new technology will enable PATH to continue to fine-tune the new system. When it is completed, trains will be capable of running more frequently and closer together, a key component in future plans to increase rush-hour service on PATH and reduce car and platform congestion.

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