Posts Tagged ‘Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis’

Agreement Reached to Resolve PTC impasse in Kansas City that Threatened Amtrak Service

July 7, 2015

Amtrak said it has reached an “an agreement in principle” regarding installation of positive train control on the Kansas City Terminal Railway.

If implemented, it will end the threat that Amtrak would discontinue its Missouri River Runner service as well as the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Those trains use a portion of the KCTR, which is Class III carrier jointly owned by Union Pacific and BNSF.

“We are hopeful we will soon finalize details of an equitable solution that achieves the installation and ongoing maintenance of PTC in the Kansas City Terminal area,” Amtrak said in a statement.

Amtrak had earlier estimated that it would cost $32 million to install PTC on the KCTR.

Although railroads such as KCTR and the Terminal Railway Association of St. Louis handle hazardous materials on run-through trains from their Class I connections, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 doesn’t require the Class III roads to install PTC unless they host passenger trains.

KCTR refused to pay to install PTC and the Missouri Department of Transportation also declined to pick up the bill. Amtrak said it doesn’t have the money to pay for it either.

There has been a move in Congress to delay the deadline to implement PTC, but that movement stalled after the derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia resulted in multiple fatalities. The deadline to install PTC is Dec. 31, 2015.

Eric Curtit, the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Administrator of Railroads and Multimodal Operations, said terms of the KCTR agreement are confidential.

He said that the KCTR agreement is likely to establish a framework to resolve the same issue regarding TRRA tracks in St. Louis used by the Missouri River Runner trains, the Chicago-St. Louis Lincoln Service trains and the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

Amtrak Says PTC Threatens Future of 2 Routes

June 19, 2015

Amtrak officials have told a Senate committee that it might have to end or reroute the Southwest Chief and Missouri River Runner trains because of high costs to install positive train control technology on two terminal railroads.

The railroads in question are the Kansas City Terminal, which all of the trains use, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, which is used by the River Runner trains.

Amtrak Vice President of Operations D.J. Stadler said as Class III railroads they are exempt from the federal PTC requirement unless the track is used by passenger trains.

“Because they’re considered Class III, the PTC requirement is triggered by the operation of passenger trains,” Stadler said. “These hosts have maintained that because Amtrak’s trains trigger the PTC requirement, Amtrak is responsible for the cost of PTC installation, which amounts in the case of KCT to $30 million.”

Stadler said Amtrak can’t afford that cost and neither can the state of Missouri

Amtrak has told KCT that Amtrak service over the KCT track will end by the end of 2015 unless the parties come up with an alternative

“We do not wish to cease service, but if this issue is not resolved soon, it could end in either the rerouting or termination of the Southwest Chief and the River Runner,” he said.

The Senate committee hearing was focused on PTC installation and held in reaction to a May 12 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia on a portion of track where PTC has not yet been implemented.

In 2008, Congress mandated the PTC requirement in passenger-rail safety legislation. Railroads are facing a Dec. 31 deadline to implement PTC technology.

Many railroads have said they won’t be able to meet that deadline, although Amtrak has said it will have PTC implemented on the Northeast Corridor by then.

The Southwest Chief travels between Chicago and Los Angeles. The Missouri River Runner travels between St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri.