Illinois Railway completes PTC implementation

OmniTRAX short line equips three locomotives to run on BNSF line shared by Metra
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The cab of one of the three Illinois Railway locomotives equipped for PTC operation displays the Wabtec equipment installed to allow interoperability with BNSF Railway and Metra.

OTTAWA, Ill. — The Illinois Railway has become one of the first short lines to fully implement positive train control, completing installation of equipment on three locomotives to be used on BNSF Railway’s busy Chicago-Aurora, Ill., main line. The equipment allows interoperability with BNSF and Metra trains between Aurora and Eola, Ill.

The Illinois Railway, a OmniTRAX property based in Ottawa, Ill., operates 113 miles in three separate segments in Illinois, including the line between Streator and Montgomery, Ill, with trackage rights on BNSF to Eola.

The IR received a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration for 70% of its PTC implementation costs. The system from Wabtec, which provided, hardware, configuration, installation, testing, and training, needed less than a year to go from the grant award to deployment.

“We are delighted to be a first mover on PTC in the short line industry and are making our railroad even safer than it already was,” OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba said in a press release. “We credit [FRA Administrator] Ron Batory, who has made PTC the focus of his leadership of the FRA, as well as U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois Department of Transportation and BNSF for their support of this project.”

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