MBTA says PTC equipment problems threaten ability to meet 2020 deadline

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BOSTON — Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authorities are saying problems with positive train control equipment from one of the system’s major subcontractors is having problems that could cause the MBTA to miss the December 2020 deadline for full PTC implementation.

Siemens is having problems with both hardware and software it is providing for the MTBA, CommonWealth Magazine reports, and has brought in specialists to try to determine the cause of the malfunctions. If the problems can’t be resolved fairly soon, MTBA officials say some commuter lines might have to be shut down for failing to meet the federal deadline.

Since early February, Siemens has recalled four components of the system. They began shortly after PTC testing began on the Lowell line of the commuter rail network. Because the problems have not yet been resolved on the Lowell line, the scheduled start of testing on the Fitchburg line has been postponed.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has recently reported similar problems with some of its PTC equipment, grilling Siemens and Bombardier about the issues at a recent meeting. [See “MTA grills vendors on PTC equipment issues,” Trains News Wire, April 17, 2019.]

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