Montana Rail Link to install PTC by 2022

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MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana Rail Link will install positive train control technology along more than 600 miles of its main line in Montana and Idaho by 2022, company officials say.

Vice President of Operations Stacy Posey tells Trains that MRL will be one of the first railroads of its size to voluntarily install the safety technology. Currently, 41 railroads are required by federal law to install PTC by Dec. 31. Those required to install PTC include Class I railroads that move certain types of hazardous materials or that host any route with regularly scheduled passenger trains.

Posey says PTC will be installed on five different subdivisions across MRL between Billings, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho.

Posey says the railroad is working closely with the Federal Railroad Administration and BNSF Railway, which runs trains over MRL, on preparing for PTC installation. Posey says the railroad is also going to seek out federal grants to help cover the costs of installing the technology.

Officials with the FRA say MRL has not yet submitted a PTC implementation plan to the agency.

MRL President and CEO Tom Walsh says installing PTC is just another example of MRL’s commitment to operating a safe and modern railroad. Walsh notes that MRL was one of the first railroads to use remote control locomotives in its yards back in the 1990s.

“We have always tried to be on the cutting edge of things,” he says.
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