Security and Safety

Metra marks completion of major PTC milestone

Posted on September 17, 2018

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory congratulates Metra workers on completing a key positive train control milestone - all equipment installed. Photo: Metra
FRA Administrator Ronald Batory congratulates Metra workers on completing a key positive train control milestone - all equipment installed. Photo: Metra

Metra celebrated the completion of the installation of positive train control (PTC) components on all its trains and on all its communications and signal systems along its train lines, a major achievement on its way to implementing the federally mandated safety system.
 
Under the PTC legislation, completing the installation of components is one of the four milestones that must be reached by the end of this year in order to receive more time to implement PTC across the entire system. Of the other three milestones, Metra has already acquired the needed radio spectrum and in October it will have completed the training of its workers and started a revenue service demonstration project on one of its lines, the Rock Island Line.

“Implementing Positive Train Control has been a long, difficult and expensive undertaking, and we are happy that we are now seeing it so close to completion,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “I want to congratulate the Metra workers whose dedication and expertise got us here today. And I want our riders to know that our already safe system is about to get a whole lot safer.”

Derwinski was joined by Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Ronald Batory and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority GM Jeffrey D. Knueppel, who also serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Commuter Rail PTC of APTA. Batory and Knueppel talked about commuter railroads’ commitment to safety and how they are dealing with the unparalleled technological and financial challenges in scale, complexity, and time required for PTC implementation.
 
Nationwide, as of June 30, 2018:

  • 91% of spectrum has been acquired;
  • 85% of onboard equipment has been installed;
  • 79% of trackside installations have been completed;
  • 78% of back office control systems are ready for operation;
  • 74% of employees have been trained in PTC; and
  • 34% of commuter railroads are in testing, revenue service demonstration, or are operating their trains with PTC.

Metra is responsible for installing PTC on all trains and along the five lines it controls — Metra Electric, Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, Rock Island and SouthWest Service. The owners of the other lines in the Metra system are responsible for installing PTC along their lines and building the back-office PTC system — BNSF Railway for the BNSF Line, Union Pacific Railroad for the three UP lines and CN for the Heritage Corridor and North Central Service lines.

...unparalleled technological and financial challenges in scale, complexity, and time required for PTC implementation.

BNSF Railway already has implemented PTC, and Union Pacific is expected to do so later this year. Metra will start a revenue service demonstration on the Rock Island Line in October and on the SouthWest Service Line later this year. The Metra Electric and Milwaukee District West lines will follow next year and the final three will follow in 2020. The entire system will be fully operational by the end of 2020.
 
For Metra, PTC is expected to cost about $400 million, and funding that work has been a major challenge. While Metra has received about $43 million in federal PTC grants, it will have to pay rest of the bill out of its already inadequate capital resources. PTC will also add about $15 million to $20 million to Metra’s operating costs each year.
 
Another challenge is interoperability. Chicago is the most complex railroad network in the country, with 1,300 to 1,400 trains operating over multiple railroads every day, including nearly 700 Metra trains. The PTC mandate requires all PTC systems to be interoperable: any train operating over another railroad’s tracks must be able to communicate with the back office of that railroad’s PTC system, in addition to its own system.
 
That means Metra trains must be able to talk to freight railroad back offices, such as BNSF, UP and CN, and vice versa, and must be able to do that seamlessly. On the SouthWest Service Line alone, Metra trains must be able to talk to the back offices of five different systems.
 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

CUTA calls for random drug testing rules for transit after pot legalized

To date, Canada has declined to follow the lead of other countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Australia, which permit or require this practice.

Owner of trucking company in Canadian hockey team bus crash charged

Will face seven federal charges, including two counts of failing to maintain Hours of Service logs and three counts of failing to monitor the compliance of a driver.

Judge suggests mental facility for N.Y. serial bus, train thief

Darius McCollum has been arrested at least 30 times for stealing buses or trains by impersonating train operators or bus operators and driving their routes.

NCTD receives conditional certification of PTC system

The move enables agency to enter into interoperability testing, meaning other carriers who operate on NCTD-owned rail can test their PTC system for integration with NCTD’s.

Inspections find second crack in San Francisco's Salesforce Transit Center

The TJPA will conduct additional ultrasonic testing at this location to determine the extent of the damage.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation