Senator urges speedier PTC work

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HARTFORD, Conn. — In a recent news release, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal criticized the Metro-North Railroad for not making better progress on the installation of positive train control equipment.

According to the senator, the commuter railroad has made “almost no progress” in implementing PTC technology on its 384-mile system based on a PTC progress update from the Federal Railroad Administration.

“Metro-North should be leading the way – a model of timely, sound investment, not safety delay,” Blumenthal writes in a letter to Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti.

In response to the senator's admonishment, the railroad tells Trains News Wire that the FRA's report only measures completions, not substantial progress.

It's not, "an accurate measurement of percentage of work completed or progress, per se,” says Nancy Gamerman, a railroad representative. "MTA Metro-North Railroad is the second busiest commuter railroad in North America, preceded only by MTA Long Island Rail Road. We run under and over the densest population in the country,. No one has tried PTC under these circumstances.”

Gamerman says that to date, Metro-North has completed the installation of speed enforcement transponders on its approximate 60-mile line from New Rochelle to New Haven, it has partially installed on-board equipment on 380 M8 railcars, 23 cab cars, 26 P32 locomotives, 12 BL20 locomotives and 3 GP35 locomotives, adding that since the locomotives and passenger equipment are not equipped with PTC radios, those efforts do not yet show on the FRA report.

“…To add the radio antennas, we need authorization from both FCC and Native American nations. Permit applications are currently awaiting full approval required before installation can continue,” she adds.

As of Aug. 10, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority received radio spectrum for the entire territory, a request the Gamerman says the railroad originally made in 2009.

Metro-North says it has also trained more than 500 employees on PTC infrastructure.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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