The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released a status update on railroads’ progress implementing positive train control (PTC) systems in the fourth quarter of 2016. The status update, based on railroad-submitted quarterly data, shows freight railroads continue to make consistent progress while passenger industry progress in installing and activating the life-saving technology only slightly increased.
The latest data, current as of Dec. 31, 2016, confirms freight railroads now have PTC active on just 16% of tracks required to be equipped with PTC systems — up from 12% last quarter. Passenger railroads made less progress — with a slight increase to 24% from 23%.
Due in large part to Amtrak’s significant progress on PTC, 41% of passenger railroads’ locomotives are now fully equipped with PTC technology, compared to 29% the previous quarter. Freight railroads’ percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology rose to 42%, up from 38%.
“We continue to closely monitor railroads’ progress implementing Positive Train Control,” said Patrick Warren, FRA Executive Director. “With less than two years remaining to complete the implementation process, it is imperative that railroads continue to meet implementation milestones.”
Congress requires Class I railroads and entities providing regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation to implement PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2018. Only if some key implementation and installation milestones are met may railroads be eligible to obtain a limited extension to complete certain non-hardware, operational aspects of PTC system implementation no later than Dec. 31, 2020, subject to the Secretary of Transportation's approval.