Amtrak Cascades route, including bypass, should meet PTC deadline

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An Amtrak Cascades train passes along the shore of Puget Sound north of Steilacoom, Wash., in June 2018. PTC installation on the Cascades route is expected to be complete by the Dec. 31, 2018, deadline.
TRAINS: David Lassen

TACOMA, Wash. — Washington state officials say positive train control will be installed on the route used by Amtrak Cascades trains by the Dec. 31 deadline, including the Point Defiance Bypass route between Nisqually, Wash., and Tacoma.

The first Cascades train to use that route derailed when it took a curve at excessive speed on Dec. 18, 2017, in DuPont, Wash., killing three passengers. The Cascades returned to their prior coastal route via Steilacoom, Wash., after that accident [see "Washington closes Point Defiance route to passengers pending PTC installation,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 22, 2017]. Current projections are that Amtrak trains will return to the bypass in spring 2019.

 “Amtrak, Sound Transit [whose Sounder commuter trains currently use part of the bypass], and BNSF are all working together to ensure PTC is operating seamlessly in the entire Pacific Northwest,” says an update on the Washington State Department of Transportation webstie, “and they are confident they will meet the Dec. 31, 2018, federal deadline for implementation in our region.

“PTC equipment testing and crew training will occur on the Point Defiance Bypass throughout the fall and winter in preparation for the return of daily service next spring. “

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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