Digest: NJ Transit says it is 80% of the way to PTC implementation with seven weeks to go

News Wire Digest for Nov. 13: Former California high speed rail consultant cleared by ethics investigation; work on LAX people mover ahead of schedule
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An NJ Transit Bergen County Line train passes through Ridgewood Junction, N.J. With 80% of its work on positive train control in place, the transit agency says it will meet the Dec. 31 PTC deadline.
TRAINS: David Lassen
Friday morning rail news:

As deadline nears, NJ Transit says it has 80% of PTC work done
NJ Transit has about 80% of its positive train control implementation process complete with seven weeks to go to meet the Dec. 31 deadline, and officials from the transit agency and its primary contractor said again at a Thursday board meeting that they would have the job completed in time. NJ.com reports eight of the commuter agency’s 12 rail lines were previously in extended revenue service demonstration — or testing with in-service passenger trains — along with the Northeast Corridor shared with Amtrak. Another line reached that phase this week, and another is scheduled to enter the revenue service testing phase next week. The final line, a branch serving the Meadowlands sports complex, has had its plans submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration. NJ Transit could face a shutdown or fines of $27,000 if it doesn’t meet the deadline.

Former California high speed rail consultant cleared of conflict-of-interest charges
A former consultant for California’s high speed rail project has been cleared of conflict-of-interest allegations. The Los Angeles Times reports that the Fair Political Practices Commission determined Roy Hill, formerly the top official at consulting firm WSP, did not violate state law for allegedly approving a contract modification for a company in which he held stock. Hill signed off on a $51 million change for a contract held by a construction consortium led by the Spanish firm Dragatos in the same year he may have owned stock in Jacobs Engineering, part of the Dragados group. The commission determined Hill was “not financially interested in the contract.” Hill was suspended from WSP in June 2019, at the time the allegation surfaced [see “California high speed rail consultant suspended …,” Trains News Wire, June 5, 2019]. He is no longer with the company.

Work on LA airport people mover ahead of schedule
Work on the people mover rail system at Los Angeles International Airport is progressing ahead of schedule as the airport takes advantage of decreased passenger traffic. KABC-TV reports a pedestrian bridge at the airport was removed this week to make room for a station for the 2.25-mile, six-station system, an event that originally was not scheduled to occur until late 2021. Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, told the station the decline in passenger volume during the COVID-19 pandemic means the airport has “been able to actually accerlate some of the work, especially here in the Central Terminal Area.” The people mover is scheduled to be in operation in 2023.

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