Posts Tagged ‘PTC’

FRA Reports Continued Progress in PTC Implementation

August 2, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration reported this week that positive train control is in place on nearly 90 percent of the route miles subject to the federal mandate as of June.

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory told a Senate committee that despite that progress there remains “significant work” to be done to fully implement PTC the end of 2020.

“Nonetheless, railroads must still complete significant work to full implement their PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2020, especially with respect to activating PTC systems on the remaining required main lines and achieving the necessary interoperability with their tenant railroads,” Batory said in his prepared statement.

Through the end of June PTC was in operation on 87 percent of the 58,000 route miles subject to the federal PTC mandate, based on preliminary reports railroads provide the FRA.

Batory told the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that is a 4 percent increase from the first quarter.

PTC systems are being tested in revenue service demonstration on at least 718 route miles.

Eleven freight railroads, 30 commuter railroads and Amtrak are subject to the PTC mandate.

Among the highlights of the latest PTC report are:

• Class I railroads report that PTC is in operation on 91 percent of their required main lines, which represented a 4 percent increase from the first quarter.

• Host commuter railroads have PTC in revenue service on 443 route miles and in RSD testing on 718 route miles, which represented 37 percent of their 3,111 PTC-required route miles and a 12 percent increase since the first quarter.

• Amtrak, as a host railroad on and near the Northeast Corridor and other parts of the country, reported 899 of its 900 required route miles are governed by PTC. Operations are governed by PTC on 84 percent of route miles where Amtrak operates as a tenant on other railroads’ PTC-equipped main lines.

• Six short line or terminal railroads must implement PTC on their own main lines that provide or host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter passenger rail service. One of those six has been operating its FRA-certified and interoperable PTC system in revenue service since 2018, while the other five are conducting FRA-approved field testing of their PTC systems on the general rail network. They expect to begin RSD during the third quarter.

• Batory said host railroads reported 17 percent of tenant railroads that operate on their PTC-required main lines had achieved interoperability as of March 31.

• Host railroads also reported 33 percent of their applicable tenant railroads were installing PTC hardware and 38 percent had advanced to interoperability testing as of March 31.

“The FRA is currently directing its focus and resources to the PTC-mandated main lines that have a high concentration of host railroads and tenant railroads, including commuter railroads with significant remaining work, such as the PTC-mandated main lines in the Northeast, Chicago area, Florida and Texas,” Batory said.

PTC Covers all Union Pacific Passenger Routes

May 21, 2019

Union Pacific is now operating with positive train control on 80 percent of its route miles.

The carriers said it recently implemented PTC on 582 route miles, bringing required PCT-operated route miles to 13,597.

In a news release, UP said PTC has been in operation over all of its routes hosting passenger trains since last year

UP said it continues to work to ensure PTC interoperability with other freight and passenger railroads operating on UP track by 2020.

In the news release, UP said it completed PTC installation on required route miles and employee training in the fourth quarter of 2018.

PTC Now in Place on Cascades Route

March 27, 2019

Despite completion of a positive train control system on the Point Defiance route in Washington no date has been set for Amtrak to resume using it.

Amtrak used the route briefly in December 2018, but the first southbound Cascades train over the route derailed, killing three passengers aboard the train.

The Point Defiance route begins in Tacoma and rejoins the current route used by Amtrak at Nisqually, Washington.

News reports indicate that PTC is now in operation between Blaine, Washington, and Eugene, Oregon, which is used by Amtrak’s Cascades service.

Portions of the route also are used by the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight.

FRA Status Report Shows PTC Progress Continuing

February 16, 2019

In its latest status report, the Federal Railroad Administration said all railroads affected by a Dec. 31, 2018, statutory deadline to install positive train control met the mandate of full implementation or submitting requests demonstrating they had met or exceeded the statutory criteria for an alternative schedule.

The latter would enable the carriers to have two additional years to complete full implementation.

Under federal law, 41 railroads, including passenger rail agencies, were required to meet the Dec. 31 deadline.

In a news release, the FRA said it drew its conclusion about compliance based on self-reported data from the affected railroads.

The FRA said all railroads satisfied the six statutory criteria necessary to qualify for an extension.

PTC was in operation in the fourth quarter of 2018 on 46,000 of the 58,000 route miles where the technology systems must be deployed.

PTC systems were in revenue service demonstration on an additional 288 route miles.

The key remaining steps for full PTC implementation includes conducting revenue service demonstration (advanced testing on the general rail system), submitting a PTC Safety Plan and obtaining PTC System Certification from the FRA, achieving interoperability between host railroads and tenant railroads, and activating the PTC system so it governs all operations on the required main lines.

The latest status report showed that as of Dec. 31, 2018, host railroads’ operations are governed by a PTC system on 83 percent of the freight railroad route miles subject to the mandate and 30 percent of the required passenger railroad route miles.

Of approximately 233 host-tenant railroad relationships, 16 percent have reportedly achieved PTC system interoperability as of Dec. 31, which means the locomotives of a host railroad and a tenant railroad operating on the same main line can communicate with and respond to the PTC system, including uninterrupted movements over property boundaries.

The FRA said it has conditionally certified 12 host railroads’ PTC systems, based on their PTC Safety Plans; two PTC Safety Plans are currently under review; and 23 additional PTC Safety Plans must be submitted by June 2020.

Thirty-three railroads have submitted a written notification formally requesting FRA’s review and approval of an alternative schedule and sequence, and as of Feb. 11 the agency had formally approved 25 requests.

FRA Holds 1st of 6 PTC Seminars

February 9, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration this week held its first “collaborative sessions” involving the 41 railroads responsible for implementing positive train control under federal law.

It was the first of six such planned session and focused on the steps that railroads must take by the end of 2020 in order to achieve a fully interoperable system.

FRA personnel also described the agency’s approach to certifying  PTC systems and provided an update on best practices and lessons learned from the various systems being tested or already in place.

They also took questions from railroad representatives on technical and regulatory matters.

Also speaking at the session was U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“The sooner you get there [PTC implementation], the sooner our country will be able to realize all of the safety benefits of PTC,” she said. “I encourage you to head into these next two years with that goal — to obtain certification and achieve interoperability with your tenant railroads as soon as possible.”

Chao said DOT understands the PTC implementation challenges facing railroads and will do whatever it can to help them succeed, including funding through grant and loan programs.

“In addition, the FRA has taken steps to ensure it has the necessary human resources to respond to your needs and turn critical documents around in a timely fashion,” she said. “And the FRA will continue to collaborate with you in forums like these, and on an individual basis.”

UP Completes PTC Installation on Required Routes

February 7, 2019

Positive train control systems have been installed on all Union Pacific route miles that are required by law to have it.

In a news release, UP said this included passenger train routes.

The carrier said it is now seeking to ensure that PTC will be interoperable with other freight and passenger railroads operating on its tracks by the federal government’s deadline of Dec. 31, 2020.

UP said that in the last three months of 2018 it had trained 606 employees on PTC operations, bringing the total number of employees trained to 26,610, or 100 percent.

It also during that period of time increasing by 1,095 the number of PTC implemented PTC route miles, bringing the total number of route miles in PTC operations to 13,015 or 76 percent.

Four out of the five passenger-rail carriers are now operating PTC-equipped trains over UP lines.

With the Federal Railroad Administration’s conditional approval of its PTC safety plan in April 2017, UP now is running PTC operations on more than 13,000 miles in 21 states.

NTSB: No More PTC Delays

February 5, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board said any further delays in stalling positive train control systems will continue to put passengers at risk of being involved in accidents caused by human errors.

NTSB members were critical of how federal officials have granted additional time to the railroad industry to install PTC.

“There should be no more extensions on PTC,” NTSB member Jennifer Homendy said at a event in which the board named PTC as one of its 10 most wanted reforms to improve transportation safety.

The list also includes measures designed to eliminate drunk and distracted driving.

Although railroads faced a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline to install PTC, the law also allows railroads to seek a two-year waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration if they met specified criteria for PTC installation as of that date.

Four of the 41 railroads subject to the PTC mandate had fully installed PTC as of the deadline with 34 others seeking or having been granted waivers.

The Association of American Railroads said in January that PTC is fully installed across on all its member railroads and operable on 83 percent of those route miles.

Homendy, though, acknowledged that train travel is “generally” safe.

“It’s one of the safest modes of transportation,” she said. “But the risk of a PTC preventable accident is still there.”

She also conceded that the equipment, radio frequencies and staff training needed to implement in PTC is expensive, “but in our view there’s a greater cost to losing a life.”

PTC in Place on Most Class 1 Routes

January 28, 2019

U.S. Class 1 railroads are now using positive train control on the vast majority of their routes, the Association of American Railroads said last week.

AAR said that at the end of 2018 the Class 1s had 83.2 percent of required route miles operating with PTC.

In a news release, AAR said the Class Is have equipped all locomotives, installed all wayside units and radio towers, trained all affected employees and acquired all radio spectrum needed for PTC operations.

Railroads that have done that will qualify for an additional 24 months of time via a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration to test their systems and ensure interoperability.

AAR said all Class needed to complete testing and have PTC systems fully implemented across their networks.

The news release said Class 1 railroads have invested $10.5 billion in the development, installation and implementation of PTC, and had systems in operation across 44,695 miles of their required 53,732 miles of track.

4 Railroad Fully PTC Compliant

January 3, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration has said that four railroads as of Dec. 31 have fully implemented positive train control systems while other carriers required by law to adopt PTC technology have formally requested a two-year extension.

Forty-one railroads were required by federal law to implement PTC or meet FRA requirements to receive a two-year deadline extension known as “alternative schedule.”

The four fully-compliant railroads are North County Transit District, Metrolink, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, and the Portland & Western Railroad.

Those carriers have said they have a fully implemented PTC system in operation on their required mainlines and all their trains are governed by a PTC system, including tenant railroads’ trains.

The FRA said that 37 railroads are seeking extensions, including seven Class I carriers. The group also includes 25 intercity passenger and commuter railroads, and five short-line or terminal railroads.

Twelve railroads have obtained conditional PTC system certification from the FRA, which permits them to operate PTC in revenue service.

There are now 41,000 route miles under PTC operation, which is 71 percent of the route miles that are subject to the federal mandate.

CN Says It has Met PTC Installation Requirements

December 28, 2018

Canadian National said it has met on its U.S. route all of the federal requirements for installation of positive train control equipment and is seeking from the Federal Railroad Administration a two-year extension to achieve complete PTC operability

By law the FRA can grant such extensions for railroads that have installed all hardware, acquired the necessary radio spectrum, and initiated PTC on more than half of their required mileage.

CN said it has installed 1,662 radio towers, trained all 5,614 employees required, installed hardware on 586 locomotives and 35 required track segments, and initiated PTC on 19 of those track segments, or 54 percent.

The railroad is spending $1.4 billion on PTC installation on its 3,100 route-miles in the U.S.