NJ Transit meets PTC installation deadline, qualifies for extension

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With a dual-power ALP-45 locomotive in the background, a chart showing NJ Transit's progress in installing positive train control is on display at a Monday press conference at the Meadows Maintenance Center.

Ralph Spielman

KEARNY, N.J. —  After an intense year of playing catch-up, NJ Transit has met the deadline for positive train control equipment installation.

In a Monday press conference at the agency’s sprawling Meadows Maintenance Center, NJ Transit officials said they had filed paperwork on Dec. 14 to show they had met the Dec. 31 installation, qualifying them for a two-year extension to achieve full PTC operability.

The agency also announced it had selected its new head of rail operations — Raymond Kenny, a former chief transportation officer with the Long Island Rail Road.

“It’s a new day at NJ Transit,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “We promised the people of New Jersey that we would start making it right at NJ TRANSIT and this achievement shows we are doing just that. Make no mistake: there’s still a lot of work left to do on PTC, but this is a major step forward as we continue to rebuild our mass transit system.”

NJ Transit began the year with only about 12 percent of PTC installation complete on locomotives and cab cars; to reach the year-end deadline, complete sets of equipment often had to be taken out of service, leading to frequent train cancellations. To meet the deadline, 282 locomotives and cab cars were equipped, the minimum necessary to qualify for approval; 158 more will need PTC equipment by the end of 2020 for complete PTC compliance. Installation work was done at the Meadows Maintenance Center, as well as non-NJ Transit facilities in Morristown and Piscataway, N.J.

The agency has also installed 326 miles of wayside equipment including radios, transponders and poles, and initiated PTC testing and employee training.

NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Conway thanked the staff and vendors for what he said was completion of four years’ work in less than a year. “We did what many thought was impossible,” he said. “It was the hard work of NJ Transit employees that made it possible.”

As part of the installation process, service was suspended on the Atlantic City Line and Princeton Shuttle; weekend service was suspended on the Gladstone Line and through New York service suspended on the Raritan Valley Line. No dates have been set for resumption of any of those services.

Along with the installation of equipment on the remaining locomotives and cab cars, the two-year extension provides time to train an additional 985 employees, raising the number with PTC training to 2,730. Several levels of testing are also required before full PTC certification by the Federal Railroad Administration, with PTC implementation to occur by Dec. 31, 2020.

Kenny’s selection as vice president of rail operations must be approved by the NJ Transit board. He served as the Long Island Rail Road’s acting president from September 2006 to June 2007 and held other management positions there including senior vice president, operations. He subsequently was a senior manager for special projects in transit and rail at engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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