FRA announces full implementation of positive train control

Agency has certified that each host railroad’s PTC system complies with technical requirements

January 07, 2021 / 2 minute read
railroad positive train control

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently announced that positive train control (PTC) technology is in operation on all 57,536 required freight and passenger railroad route miles.

The announcement came prior to the statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, set by Congress. In addition, as required, FRA has certified that each host railroad’s PTC system complies with the technical requirements for PTC systems. Furthermore, railroads have reported that interoperability has been achieved between each applicable host and tenant railroad that operates on PTC-governed main lines.

PTC systems are designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movements of trains through switches left in the wrong position. Today’s announcement is the culmination of over a decade of sustained and direct engagement and collaboration among FRA and the 41 railroads subject to the statutory mandate, including seven Class I railroads, Amtrak, 28 commuter railroads, and 5 other freight railroads that host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger service.

FRA says this accomplishment encompasses thousands of hours of testing and deployment, innovative technological solutions, and coordination among nearly 100 host and tenant railroads, railroad associations, material suppliers, and service providers.

“On behalf of extraordinary professionals at FRA and myself, I congratulate the railroads, particularly their frontline workers, as well as PTC system suppliers and vendors on this transformative accomplishment,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said in a statement.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandated the implementation of PTC systems on Class I railroads’ main lines over which five million or more gross tons of annual traffic and certain hazardous materials are transported, and on any main lines over which intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation is regularly provided.

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SOURCE: Federal Railroad Administration

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