FRA Says Most Railroads are PTC Compliant

The latest Railroad Administration report on positive train control implementation shows that during the fourth quarter of 2019 most railroads are operating PTC in revenue service or in advanced field testing.

The FRA said PTC is in operation on 55,601 route miles or 96.3 percent of the route miles required by federal law to have it.

By law 42 railroads are mandated to implement PTC, with a PTC system currently governing operations on nearly all lines of Class 1 railroads and Amtrak that are required to have it.

The percentage of PTC in operation for Class 1 railroads was 98.7 percent while at Amtrak it was 99.8 percent.

At commuter railroads, the American Public Transportation Association said PTC has been certified, in revenue service demonstration or in field testing on 97 percent of them.

That is an 8.4 percent increase from the third quarter.

Thirty percent of commuter railroads are in revenue service demonstration and 10 percent are in field testing.

APTA said the remaining 3 percent of railroads are preparing for field testing.

The data is self-reported by the carriers, who also say they have achieved interoperability on 38 percent of the 229 applicable host-tenant railroad relationships, a 13 percent increase from the third quarter of 2019.

Railroads are facing a Dec. 31, 2020, deadline to fully implement PTC systems.

The FRA said eight railroads are at risk of not meeting that deadline. They include the Alaska Railroad, The Belt Railway Company of Chicago, Florida East Coast Railway (including its tenant railroad, Brightline/Virgin Trains USA), Kansas City Terminal Railway, New Jersey Transit, New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad (Metra), and TEXRail.

The agency said it “remains committed to assisting railroads directly, and to the greatest extent possible, including ongoing support during all phases of field testing.”

The FRA said it has encouraged state departments of transportation and governors to help ensure that any at-risk commuter railroads have sufficient technical resources and support to meet the end-of-year deadline.

FRA reports on PTC implementation at are available at The fourth quarter reporter can be found at


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