Amtrak, in coordination with BNSF Railway, will implement Positive Train Control (PTC) over several BNSF-owned subdivisions this week, marking the first activation on host-owned territory used by Amtrak.
“Amtrak’s highest priority is ensuring the safety of our passengers, our crews and the communities we serve, and full implementation of PTC will make the entire network safer,” said Amtrak Executive VP, Safety, Ken Hylander. “While we are excited to achieve this milestone, we must continue to work together to activate PTC and make the national railroad network safer.”
Subdivisions that serve the Amtrak Southwest Chief and California Zephyr are first to roll out, with full activation on BNSF routes expected by the end of August.
“This is a great step for Amtrak. We have the infrastructure in place that allows them to operate on our network. We have partnered with them on the federal mandate and in some cases beyond the federal mandate to install PTC on subdivisions not required of BNSF. We look forward to continuing that partnership as they roll-out PTC along our routes,” said Chris Matthews, BNSF assistant VP, Network Control Systems.
Amtrak is on track to achieve installation and operation of PTC across the network it controls by the year-end deadline, and is working with partners throughout the industry to advance this system on host infrastructure.
Where PTC is not implemented and operational, it is expected that nearly all carriers will qualify for an alternative PTC implementation schedule under law. For those carriers and routes operating under an extension or under an FRA-approved exemption, Amtrak is performing risk analyses and developing strategies for enhancing safety on a route-by-route basis to ensure that there is a single level of safety across the Amtrak network by Jan. 1, 2019.
For those very limited routes where a host may not achieve an alternative schedule by year’s end, Amtrak will suspend service and may seek alternative modes of service until such routes come into compliance.
Amtrak is also working with tenant railroads that operate over Amtrak’s infrastructure as they work to ensure that they have sufficient PTC-commissioned rolling stock by the deadline to operate normal services.