NTSB to hold public forum on positive train control

Posted on February 11, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will hold a public forum on Positive Train Control (PTC) February 27, 2013. The one-day forum — "Positive Train Control: Is it on Track?" — will bring together a wide range of experts to discuss the technological, the regulatory, and the operational status of PTC.

"Over 40 years since the NTSB issued its first recommendation addressing collision avoidance technologies on the railroad and after years of dialogue with industry officials, we continue to investigate accidents where PTC could have prevented the accident and saved lives" said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

The NTSB issued its first recommendation calling for automatic train control in 1970; 20 years later in 1990, the need for a safety redundancy system on railroads still existed, and positive train separation, which was renamed positive train control in 2001, was first placed on the NTSB's Most Wanted List. In March 2005, the NTSB held a symposium on PTC to reinvigorate the dialogue between the railroad industry and state and federal agencies on issues relevant to the implementation of PTC systems. During that two-day meeting, the NTSB examined each of the major aspects of PTC systems including safety, efficiency, and operational issues.

Following a collision involving a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train that claimed 25 lives in Chatsworth, California, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The President signed the Act into law, which included a key provision requiring Class I railroads, regularly scheduled intercity and commuter rail passenger carriers to develop and submit to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, within 18 months, individual plans for the implementation of a PTC system by Dec. 31, 2015.

The "Positive Train Control: Is it on Track?" forum will be held in the NTSB Conference Center in Washington, D.C., and is free and open to the public. A detailed agenda and a list of speakers are forthcoming.

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