Calif.'s Metrolink puts PTC into revenue service demo mode

Posted on March 3, 2015

Paul Sullivan
Paul Sullivan

Metrolink reached another critical milestone by launching Positive Train Control (PTC) in revenue service demonstration (RSD) along the commuter railroad’s San Bernardino Line between the cities of Los Angeles and San Bernardino. With this latest accomplishment, Metrolink remains on track to become the nation’s first passenger rail system to have a fully implemented, interoperable PTC system in place.

Functional field testing of the integrated PTC system along the San Bernardino Line began in July 2014. More than 150 unique test cases were performed on the subdivision in addition to extensive end-to-end functional testing. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) formally approved the commencement of RSD on the San Bernardino Line in mid-February.

Metrolink first launched PTC in revenue service demonstration under the authority of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad in February 2014. That set of tracks includes portions of Metrolink’s Orange County Line, the 91 Line, along with the agency’s Inland Empire-Orange County Line.

The agency recently completed end-to-end testing on the Ventura County Line and just initiated similar testing on the Antelope Valley Line, which are the next two lines expected to go into RSD. Testing and RSD will then take place on the Orange County Line this spring.

RELATED: Metrolink Leads the Way as PTC Deadline Looms

Metrolink intends on having RSD across all track dispatched by the agency by late summer of 2015. Despite monumental challenges, Metrolink is scheduled to meet the federally mandated Dec. 31, 2015 PTC implementation deadline set by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

The FRA has authorized Metrolink to operate PTC RSD 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 other commuter railroads including Metra and Coaster.

Parsons Transportation Group, Inc., a business unit of Parsons Corporation, is the primary contractor managing Metrolink’s PTC program.

The estimated cost for developing, installing and deploying PTC on the Metrolink system is expected to be $216.3 million, using a combination of federal, state and local funding sources. Investments were also made to upgrade and expand the existing communication network, which is necessary for PTC and other modern railroad operations.

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