A new, highly reliable signal system is being installed on the Port Jervis Line of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Metro-North Railroad that will increase safety and more efficiently control train speed.
Installation of a new cab signal system, at an estimated cost of $67 million, is part of the railroad's ongoing effort to bring its entire infrastructure into a state of good repair. The project will replace the existing wayside system and renew 10 interlockings and four highway grade crossings from Suffern, N.Y. to Port Jervis, N.Y., which is about 66 miles.
The Port Jervis Line's existing 40-year-old signal system allows for the safe movement of all trains, including controlling maximum allowable speeds and routes. However, cab signals are more advanced, which also means they are more reliable and safer. They also increase the capacity of the line by reducing headway distances.
A cab signal is sent through the rails and received by the train where it is continuously displayed on the engineer's console. The cab signal system, which will activate the related automatic train control system already on board the trains, will provide control of the trains' speed. The engineer only has to glance at the console to get constant information about the maximum allowable speed in any given section of track. This feature enables a train to stop short of train ahead by keeping trains a safe distance apart.
With the Port Jervis line's current wayside signal system, the engineer has to pass a signal indicator, which looks much like a traffic signal sticking up a few feet out of the ground, to know conditions ahead.
The design of the new cab signal system was done by Systra/AECOM Joint Venture over the last couple of years as part of Metro-North's federally-mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) design contract. The new cab signal system being installed is not PTC, but is PTC-ready. Within in the $67 million budgeted for Port Jervis signalization project is $12 million for the application of PTC, which will be a separate contract.