All railroads meet deadline for PTC implementation, interoperability, FRA announces

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration says U.S. railroads have met the deadline for positive train control implementation, with the safety system in operation on all 57,536 miles where it is required, FRA certification of all host-railroad systems, and interoperability functioning where required between host and tenant railroads.

“On behalf of extraordinary professionals at FRA and myself, I congratulate the railroads, particularly their frontline workers, as well as PTC system suppliers and vendors on this transformative accomplishment,” FRA Administrator Ron Batory said in a press release. “ Furthermore, many industry associations, including the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, American Public Transportation Association, Commuter Rail Coalition, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Railway Supply Institute, and Railway Systems Suppliers, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting this unprecedented undertaking.”

Implementation of the systems to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, work-zone accidents, and incidents involving improperly lined switches required collaboration among FRA and 41, including seven Class I railroads, Amtrak, 28 commuter railroads, and five other freight railroads that host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger service.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandated PTC on Class I railroads’ main lines over which 5 million or more gross tons of annual traffic and certain hazardous materials are transported, and on any main lines over which intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation is regularly provided. It also required interoperability, meaning that the locomotives of host and tenant railroads operating on the same main line must communicate with and respond to the PTC system, including during uninterrupted movements over property boundaries.

The effort to meet the PTC deadline ranks No. 4 on Trains News Wire’s list of the Top Ten stories of 2020.

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