US Railroads Finally Meet Positive Train Control Install Mandate

With just two days to spare before a year-end implementation deadline, 41 U.S. freight and passenger railroads have met a federal mandate for full deployment of positive train control to prevent potentially deadly crashes.

The Federal Railroad Administration said on Dec. 29, that in addition to being in full compliance with the safety technology’s technical requirements on more than 57,500 route miles, the railroads have achieved full interoperability between host and tenant railroads operating on PTC-governed main lines. The group includes New Jersey Transit, which the agency said last month appeared at risk for not meeting the completion target based on earlier data.

The Association of American Railroads says that since 2008, Class 1 railroads invested nearly $11.5 billion to implement PTC. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation provided $3.4 billion in grant and loan funding.

Operated by train and track operators, GPS-based PTC systems combine on-board locomotive and trackside systems to monitor and automatically control train speeds and movements, reducing the risk of human error.