Amtrak Warns Congress About Service Suspensions if PTC Deadline is Not Extended

Amtrak has joined the chorus of railroad voices warning that failure to extend the deadline for installation of positive train control will result in service suspensions.

In a letter to South Dakota Senator John Thune, Amtrak President Joe Boardman said the passenger carrier will begin to notify passengers around Dec. 1 of service suspensions.

“Should Congress fail to pass legislation to extend the PTC deadline beyond December 31, 2015, there will be significant impacts to our service and on our customers and tenant railroads,” Boardman wrote. “The potential impacts would also be substantial, since a vast majority of our network would be inoperable without an extension of the deadline.”

Boardman said Amtrak would continue to provide service on tracks that it owns in the Northeast between New York and Washington in any event.

It is not clear if Boardman named specific routes and trains that would be suspended.

Some Class I railroads and commuter operators have also written to Thune, the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, to warn that they will shut down service on Jan. 1 rather than face the prospect of fines from the Federal Railroad Administration.

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