Latest Data on Positive Train Control Implementation Show Uneven Progress across Railroads
Q3 2016 data released
WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration today released third quarter 2016 data submitted by railroads on their progress in implementing Positive Train Control (PTC). The data show uneven progress across the country and across railroads toward activating the life-saving technology.
Freight railroads now have PTC active on 12 percent of their tracks, up from 9 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter. The measurable progress made by passenger railroads has been predominately on the West Coast, while East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.
“Passenger and freight railroads must continue their progress implementing Positive Train Control and work to beat the deadlines Congress set – because PTC saves lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The Q3 2016 status update includes railroad-by-railroad quarterly data as of Sept. 30, 2016, and includes data such as track segments completed, locomotives equipped, employees trained, radio towers installed, route miles in PTC operation and other key implementation data. Some of this information is displayed in infographics below.
“In order to achieve full PTC implementation, everyone has to do their part – railroads must make implementation a priority, and Congress must make funding for commuter railroads a priority,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg.
Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:
To view the interactive graphic of PTC implementation by freight and passenger railroads, visit https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptcsummary/ or click on the graphic below:
To view the interactive graphic of an individual railroad’s PTC implementation, visit https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/ or click on the graphic below:
To view each railroad’s full quarterly PTC Progress Report, please visit: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0628.
U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) yesterday introduced the Railroad Safety and Positive Train Control Extension Act (S. 650), which proposes to extend the federally mandated deadline for positive train control (PTC) implementation by five years from 2015's end to Dec. 31, 2020.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
"We must work to do everything we can to improve train safety and accident prevention without burdening our nation’s freight and passenger rail industry," said Blunt — the bill's lead sponsor — in a press release. "Unmanageable deadlines could result in higher costs and a disruption of service. This bipartisan bill will help ease the positive train control deadline to give railroads ... enough time to fully and safely implement this new technology."
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) — which has stated freight railroads wouldn't be able to meet the impending deadline due to radio tower/communication, technology development and other issues — welcomed the legislation.
"America's freight-rail industry … appreciates the senators' recognition that the existing mandate to have a fully interoperable, nationwide PTC system tested and safely operating by the end of 2015 is simply not possible and must be changed," said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a statement. "[We] believe the new deadline set by the legislation is a reasonable and responsible extension, and provides the freight- and passenger-rail industries the time needed to fully install, test and approve PTC."
The freight-rail industry has spent $5.2 billion to date on implementation and although progress has been substantial, much remains to be done before PTC can safely operate around the nation, he said.
"This bill provides railroads the time necessary to fully and safely implement PTC without having to navigate an arbitrary and infeasible statutory deadline," said Hamberger.
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