Security and Safety

Amtrak had necessary spectrum to install PTC before crash

Posted on May 21, 2015

Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amtrak and the Federal Communications Commission said that less than a month before eight people were killed in last week's train derailment in Philadelphia, Amtrak closed on a deal to acquire the radio spectrum it needs to install positive train control (PTC) throughout the Northeast Corridor, The Inquirer reported.

The equipment needed for PTC — transponders on the track and wayside interface units alongside it — was already in place in Philadelphia, an Amtrak official said at a briefing Wednesday.

But, even after acquiring the spectrum, months of work remain before the safety system can be used. Amtrak has to tune its radios to the correct frequency, install them on trains, test them, and check for any interference with existing spectrum users, including some Philadelphia-based TV stations, according to the report.

Had the technology been installed, it could have prevented the crash. For the full story, click here.

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