Commuter Rails Making PTC Progress

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that positive train control is in the testing phase, revenue service demonstration or full operation on 30 percent of the 3,339 miles of commuter rail in the United States.

Commuter railroads have installed 81 percent of the 15,192 pieces of onboard equipment needed for PTC and installed 79 percent of PTC-related track equipment, APTA officials said.

Sixty-one percent of commuter railroad employees have been trained on PTC and 70 percent have the necessary back-office control systems ready for operation.

The commuter railroads have acquired 88 percent of the radio spectrum required for PTC.

In a statement, APTA said that although PTC implementation progress has been steady, commuter railroads have faced “significant financial constraints and technical challenges” in implementing PTC.

Other challenges include diagnosing and resolving software issues, securing track access and achieving PTC interoperability with other railroads.

The cost of PTC installation is expected to exceed $4.1 billion.

Federal law requires railroads to implement PTC systems by Dec. 31. They can qualify for two-year extension if they meet certain requirements, such as installing all PTC hardware, acquiring needed spectrum and training employees.

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