MBTA completes PTC equipment installation, requests extension for full implementation

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An aging F40PH-2C leads a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter train across the Charles River at Cambridge, Mass., on April 21, 2016. MBTA has filed for an extension for PTC implementation.
Scott A. Hartley

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has filed a request for an extension for positive train control operation with the Federal Railroad Administration after completing the work necessary to qualify for that extension.

The MBTA announced the request at Monday’s meeting of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, which was also told that the commuter system had received an additional $20 million federal grant for PTC implimentation.

In a media release, the MBTA outlined the work it had completed to qualify for the extension:

— Wayside equipment installation (equipment totals include 194 wayside interface units, 181 wayside radios, 181 antennas, 3,097 transponders, and 223 miles of fiber optic cable)

— Onboard equipment installation on the Commuter Rail fleet’s 95 locomotives and 84 control cars

— Field qualification testing on the Stoughton Pilot Line

— PTC training for personnel of Keolis, the contract operator of MBTA trains

— Configuration of the PTC Management System

“As the highest priority capital project for the MBTA, positive train control represents one of the most significant safety upgrades for our rail system in recent memory,” MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez said in the release. “I want to thank our partners at the FRA for their collaborative efforts as we continued to make progress in PTC deployment and I also want to acknowledge our project management team and vendors as we worked to turn this project around and get it back on track.”

The request was filed with the FRA on Sept. 21, following a Sept. 18 request for a Revenue Service Demonstration on the Stoughton Line.

Next steps for the project, the MBTA reports, include beginning the service demonstration on the Stoughton Line in RSD upon approval from the FRA, expected in late November 2018. Lowell Line testing will be completed soon with an RSD application submitted by late December 2018 (weekend shutdowns will continue to accomplish this work through 2018).

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