Passenger Lags Freight on PTC Installation

A Government Accountability Office report found that many passenger railroads are close to completing equipment installation of positive train control systems but are lagging the rate of progress of freight railroads in testing those systems.

Of the 28 commuter railroads required to implement PTC, 19 have initiated field testing but just eight have started revenue-service demonstration.

Two-thirds of passenger railroads are more than 90 percent complete with equipment installation.

The testing involves several field tests of individual components, such as of each locomotive to verify if it meets functional requirements and field-integration.

Revenue service demonstrations are an advanced form of field testing in which a railroad operates PTC-equipped trains in regular service under specific conditions.

The GAO said Amtrak and 21 commuter railroads expect to seek an extension to the Dec. 31 federally mandated deadline for PTC implementation.

More than half of those railroads plan to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for an extension using substitute criteria that is specified in federal law.

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