FRA publishes 2019 4th quarter positive train control implementation update

Feb. 28, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) this week released a quarterly status update on railroads’ self-reported progress, as of December 31, 2019, toward fully implementing positive train control (PTC) systems as required by Congress.

Based on 4th Quarter 2019 PTC progress reports from the 42 railroads statutorily required to implement the technology, most are operating their systems in revenue service, or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD).

“The vast majority of railroads mandated to deploy and operate interoperable PTC systems have shown significant progress,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a statement.

As of December 31, 2019, PTC systems were in RSD or in operation on 55,601 route miles—96.3% of the nearly 58,000 route miles subject to the mandate.

Recognizing that only 10 months remain until the full implementation deadline set forth by Congress, FRA is continuing to direct additional resources to railroads at risk of not implementing fully an FRA-certified and interoperable PTC system on their required main lines by December 31, 2020. 

FRA says it currently considers the following eight host railroads at risk of not fully implementing a PTC system on all required main lines by December 31, 2020:  Alaska Railroad, The Belt Railway Company of Chicago, Florida East Coast Railway (including its tenant railroad, Brightline / Virgin Trains USA), Kansas City Terminal Railway, New Jersey Transit, New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. (Metra), and TEXRail. 

FRA says it remains committed to assisting railroads directly and to the greatest extent possible, including ongoing support during all phases of field testing and RSD operations. In addition, FRA is encouraging state DOTs and governors to help ensure that any at-risk commuter railroads have sufficient technical resources and support to meet the end-of-year deadline.  

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SOURCE: Federal Railroad Administration