Amtrak Rips PTC Report

Amtrak has taken issue with a story posted Monday on the website of Trains magazine, calling it inaccurate.

The story cited second-hand sources as saying that Amtrak Vice President Stephen Gardner said at a meeting in New Mexico last week that Amtrak will not operate over routes lacking positive train control after Dec. 31, 2018.

The Trains story extrapolated from that that as many as eight trains could be in jeopardy because parts of their routes are unlikely to have PTC in operation by that date.

In a statement released Tuesday Amtrak sought to clarify its stance on operating on routes that fail to have PTC in place by the Dec. 31 deadline mandated in federal law:

“Where PTC is not implemented and operational, it is expected that nearly all carriers will qualify for an alternative PTC implementation schedule under law.

“For those carriers and routes operating under an extension or under an FRA-approved exemption, Amtrak is performing risk analyses and developing strategies for enhancing safety on a route-by-route basis to ensure that there is a single level of safety across the Amtrak network.

“For those very limited routes where a host may not achieve an alternative schedule by year’s end, Amtrak will suspend service and may seek alternative modes of service until such routes come into compliance.”

The statement does not address whether any of the routes identified by Trains have segments that will lack “an alternative schedule” by the end of the year.

Amtrak told the Rail Passengers Association that it would have denied the reporter had the Trains reporter sought comment from the carrier.

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