Rail

Metrolink demos new PTC system

Posted on February 24, 2014

Metrolink's Neil Brown, manager of the agency's on-board PTC systems, explains PTC technology to a newspaper photographer on Feb. 20, 2014 at Los Angeles Union Station.
Metrolink's Neil Brown, manager of the agency's on-board PTC systems, explains PTC technology to a newspaper photographer on Feb. 20, 2014 at Los Angeles Union Station.
Southern California’s Metrolink recently launched Positive Train Control (PTC) in revenue service demonstration (RSD) under the authority of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad at an event that included several dignitaries including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).

The Federal Railroad Administration authorized Metrolink to operate PTC RSD on BNSF territory using Wabtec's Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS).

Wabtec's I-ETMS PTC System was selected by the four Class One freight railroads and by Amtrak outside of the northeast corridor as well as Metra and Coaster. Metrolink's PTC service on BNSF track will be implemented on select trains on the Metrolink 91 Line, Orange County Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line.

PTC capability on Metrolink territory is expected to be available later this year, while the entire service area is anticipated to be complete well before the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) mandate of December 2015.

As part of its 512-mile system, Metrolink also operates on track owned and dispatched by the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) and the North County Transportation District (NCTD). Metrolink, BNSF, UP and NCTD, along with Amtrak trains, will all have to install and implement an interoperable system for PTC to be complete in the region. Metrolink will implement additional trains into PTC RSD in the coming weeks and months.

Senator Dianne Feinstein joined other dignitaries at Los Angeles Union Station on Feb. 20, 2014 as Metrolink launched PTC in revenue service demonstration under the authority of the BNSF railroad. Other dignitaries in attendance included California State Transportation Agency Deputy Secretary Chad Edison, California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales, Metrolink Board Chair Pat Morris and former Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz.
Senator Dianne Feinstein joined other dignitaries at Los Angeles Union Station on Feb. 20, 2014 as Metrolink launched PTC in revenue service demonstration under the authority of the BNSF railroad. Other dignitaries in attendance included California State Transportation Agency Deputy Secretary Chad Edison, California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales, Metrolink Board Chair Pat Morris and former Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz.
The RSIA became law in 2008 after a contractor engineer operating a Metrolink train failed to stop at a red signal just north of the Metrolink Chatsworth Station. This action led to a head-on collision with a freight train resulting in 25 passenger deaths and more than 130 injuries.

The estimated cost for developing, installing and deploying PTC on the Metrolink system including the expansion of the communication network to support the PTC System is $216.3 million. Metrolink secured full funding from local, state and federal sources with the funding split at 50%, 42%, 9%, respectively, with nearly 30 grants were secured.

Metrolink's PTC program calls for installing a back-office system; replacing the current computer-aided dispatch system; installing on-board PTC equipment on 57 cab cars and 52 locomotives; installing systems to stop a train at 476 wayside signals; and implementing a six-county specialized communication network to link the wayside signals, trains, and a new 24,000 square foot security enhanced building to house the command and control equipment and personnel to dispatch the railroad at all times.  

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