Security and Safety

Rail systems continue to make progress on PTC implementation

Posted on November 26, 2018

On August 24, FRA announced $203 million in grant awards for PTC implementation to 28 projects in 15 states.
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On August 24, FRA announced $203 million in grant awards for PTC implementation to 28 projects in 15 states.
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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released the 2018 Quarter 3 Positive Train Control (PTC) data, showing railroads’ continued progress toward meeting the year-end deadline for fully implementing PTC systems or qualifying for an alternative schedule.

“The progress made over the last year is a testament to what can be accomplished with proper focus and attention. We encourage any railroads seeking an alternative schedule to submit their formal requests in a timely fashion,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.

The Quarter 3 data as of Sept. 30, shows 24 railroads have installed 100% of the PTC system hardware required for implementation. Eleven other railroads have installed between 95% and 99% of the required hardware. All railroads using radio spectrum-based PTC have acquired sufficient spectrum. In part due to efforts from FRA, Quarter 3 data shows a 67% decrease in the number of “at-risk” railroads, down to five from 15 at the end of 2017. This is also a 44% decrease in at-risk railroads since Quarter 2 of 2018.

On August 24, FRA announced $203 million in grant awards for PTC implementation to 28 projects in 15 states. As of Sept. 30, PTC is in operation on 71% of freight railroads’ required route miles, and 26% of passenger railroads’ required route miles.

FRA considered any railroad that had installed less than 95% of its PTC system hardware to be at risk of not meeting either the congressionally-mandated deadline of Dec. 31, or the statutory criteria necessary to qualify for an alternative schedule. Hardware installation is an initial phase of implementation and only one of six statutory criteria required for an alternative schedule, which has a deadline of no later than Dec. 31, 2020.

The five at-risk railroads as of Quarter 3 are the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Altamont Corridor Express, New Jersey Transit, Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board (Caltrain), and National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Together, they own or control approximately 1,302 route miles of the 58,000 route miles subject to the statutory mandate.

FRA is tracking at-risk railroads’ progress on a month-by-month basis, and this information is posted here. Updates that railroads submitted at the end of October show further significant progress. Members of FRA’s senior staff will continue to work with railroads, helping them meet PTC requirements.

To view FRA’s detailed infographics regarding railroads’ progress toward fully implementing PTC systems as of Sept. 30, 2018, click here.

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