Posts Tagged ‘PTC deadline’

FRA Says All Railroads Reached PTC Finish Line

December 30, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration said this week that all railroads required to do so have met the deadline for installation and implementation of positive train control.

PTC is in operation on all of the 57,536 route miles required to have it.

This includes rail lines that handle intercity or commuter passengers on a regular basis, certain hazardous materials, and Class 1 railroad mainlines that see more than 5 million gross tons of annual traffic.

The mandate for the installation of PTC was part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Federal law gave the railroad industry a deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, to install and place PTC systems into operation.

In a news release, the FRA said this meant the FRA had certified not only that PTC was in operation but also that PTC systems had achieved interoperability.

This means a PTC system used by a tenant railroad such as Amtrak is compatible with the PTC system of a host railroad such as CSX.

PTC is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, work-zone accidents, and incidents involving improperly lined switches.

Implementation of PTC involved seven Class I railroads, Amtrak, 28 commuter railroads, and five other freight railroads that host regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger service.

Also involved in the effort were industry associations, suppliers and other service providers who have been working for more than a decade to develop, install, test and oversee the operation of PTC systems.

FRA certification means a PTC system complies with the required technical requirements contained in federal law or FRA regulations.

Most railroads have been in compliance with federal law and regulations for several months with 99.6 percent of those affected by the PTC mandate having complied by the end of the third quarter of this year.

All Railroads Have Met PTC Deadline

December 26, 2020

All U.S. railroads have met the federal deadline for certification of their positive train control systems.

The last carrier to meet the Dec. 31 deadline was New Jersey Transit, which crossed the finish line on Dec. 18.

The federal mandate that certain rail lines have a PTC system dates to 2008 the followed in the wake of a collision in Los Angeles between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train. That collision left 25 dead.

The original deadline for implementation of PTC had been Dec. 31, 2015, but it was pushed back to 2020 after the railroad industry said that wasn’t enough time to develop, install and field test PTC hardware and software.

The Association of American Railroads has said Class1 railroads have spent $11.47 billion to implement PTC while Amtrak and commuter railroads have spent billions more.

The railroad industry is using nine groups of PTC systems, all of which had to be approved by the Federal Railroad Administration.

PTC Installations Race to Finish Line

November 19, 2020

In its latest report on positive train control, the Federal Railroad Administration said all railroads required to do so  by the end of the year are currently operating PTC systems in revenue service or advanced field testing.

“Full implementation of PTC is in sight, owing to everyone’s unparalleled cooperation and determination,” said FRA Administrator Ronald Batory.

Through Sept. 30 PTC was activated on all but 223 required route miles.

Federal law has set a Dec. 31 deadline for implementation of PTC systems.

The FRA said PTC is operating in advanced field testing, also known as revenue service demonstration, on 57,314 route miles or 99.6 percent of the 57,537 route miles subject to federal law.

PTC is in place on all PTC-mandated main lines owned or controlled by Class I railroads and other freight host railroads.

In the third quarter of 2020 PTC was in place on 92.3 percent of commuter railroads covered by the mandate.

Amtrak said a PTC system is now operating on all mandated main lines that the railroad owns or controls.

Interoperability of PTC systems has reached 84 percent of the 219 applicable host-tenant railroad relationships. This means that the PTC system of tenant railroads are compatible with the PTC system of the host railroad.

FRA Expects Railroads to Make PTC Deadline

November 18, 2020

Federal Railroad Administration head Ronald Batory expects all railroads to make the Dec. 31 deadline to install and implement positive train control systems.

Batory said two railroads, New Mexico Rail Runner Express and New Jersey Transit, are at risk of missing the deadline,

However, he said the two commuter railroads “continue to mature hour by hour to get to the finish line.”

“I think at 23:59 on Dec. 31 we will be at 100 percent implementation, or perhaps lacking only a few miles of track,” he said.

Despite some lingering interoperability issues, all seven Class 1 railroads are expected to make the deadline.

Interoperability refers to the ability of one railroad’s locomotives to be compatible with the PTC system on another railroad line.

Most of the 220 tenant-host relationships had achieved interoperability by mid-October.

Railroad managers say that meeting the PTC deadline is just the start of a continuing process.

“Every railroad has a signaling system, and those systems have constantly evolved. They take care and feeding, and PTC is similar,” said CSX head of transportation and PTC Debbie Bittner.

“PTC will never be static. We will always be upgrading and adding functionality.”

The Association of American Railroads has established a committee to revise and maintain electronic data interchanges pertaining to PTC.

The Colorado-based Transportation Technology Center is working to provide engineering, specification development management and other services for all railroads needing help with their PTC systems, including regional and short lines railroads.

Class I and other railroads will provide the FRA monthly reports on PTC failures and anomalies starting with in 2021.

CSX said that throughout 2021 it will focus on developing  electronic tools that improve safety and reliability.

“We can take advantage of what PTC has opened up for the rail industry. We have a lot more data now,” Bittner said. “We will work on enhancements and driving efficiencies.”

That will include, for example, using PTC to provide shippers with more information about the status of their loads, including a more accurate estimated times of arrival.

Norfolk Southern officials said they continue to work with their railroad partners and suppliers to better refine and improve interoperability.

“Every opportunity we can take to reduce human error will be a priority for us,” an NS official said.

The carrier said that during 2021 it will further develop its PTC system to enhance safety and efficiency using data collected by the system.

The FRA;s Batory said there remains a need for a standardized PTC system to be used by all railroads.

Currently there are two major PTC systems, four different platforms and seven vendors.

“We are still pursuing a path of standardization,,” he said. “It will lead to a robust system and breed less risk.”

Commuter Railroads on Track to Meet PTC Deadline, APTA Says

November 14, 2020

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that the commuter-rail industry is on schedule to complete full implementation of positive train control by the Dec. 31 deadline set in federal law.

As of Sept. 30, 100 percent of commuter railroads are PTC certified by the Federal Railroad Administration or are awaiting approval on submitted PTC safety plans

In a news release, APTA said seven out of 23 of the railroads are certified by the FRA, and 16 railroads have submitted their safety plans to the FRA, a required step before certification, and are awaiting the agency’s approval.

Six other commuter railroads are tenants and their hosts have been approved by the FRA.

FRA Says PTC Compliance at 98.8%

August 13, 2020

Positive train control has now been implemented on 98.8 percent of railroad routes that are required by law to have it the Federal Railroad Administration reported.

The report, which was current as of June 30, said nearly all railroads will be able to meet the mandate of having PTC operating in revenue service or advanced field testing by Dec. 31.

Information in the report is self reported to the FRA by the railroads.

The FRA report said PTC is in full operation or advanced field test on 56,846 of the 57,537 route-miles subject to the federal mandate, representing a 0.7 percent increase since the first quarter of 2020.

As of June 30, 76.1 percent of commuter railroads’ mandated route miles were governed by PTC technology, a 12.9 percent point increase since the last quarter.

Host railroads reported interoperability is in effect on 65.5 percent of the 220 applicable, host-tenant railroad relationships, a 17 percent point increase over the first quarter.

Interoperability refers to the ability of a PTC device on one railroad to operate on another.

The FRA said just two railroads, New Jersey Transit and New Mexico Rail Runner, are at risk of not meeting the Dec. 31 deadline for PTC implementation.

PTC Compliance Reaches 98% of Required Track

May 16, 2020

The latest Federal Railroad Administration report on positive train control implementation shows that nearly all railroads required to have a PTC system in place by Dec. 31 are likely to meet that deadline.

That means the carriers are operating their systems in revenue service or advanced field testing.

PTC remains to be activated on approximately 1,100 route miles as mandated by federal law.

The information reported by FRA was based on self-reported data provided to the agency by the carriers required by federal law to have a PTC system on some or all of their lines.

The information reported this week by the FRA was current as of March 31.

As of that date, PTC operation or advanced field testing was in effect on 56,541 route miles or 98 percent of the nearly 58,000 route miles subject to the federal mandate.

PTC systems were governing operations on all PTC-mandated main lines owned or controlled by Class I freight railroads and other freight host railroads subject to the mandate.

On commuter railroads, 63.2 percent of route miles had PTC in operation or advanced field testing.

FRA said interoperability nationwide was 48.5 percent of the 229 applicable host-tenant railroad relationships, a 10 percent increase since the fourth quarter of 2019.

In a news release, the FRA said it continues to direct staff resources to railroads at risk of not fully implementing an FRA-certified and interoperable PTC system on their required main lines by Dec. 31.

Railroads that FRA staff believe are at risk of missing the PTC deadline include New Jersey Transit, TEXRail, Chicago’s Metra, and New Mexico Rail Runner Express.

GAO Says RRs Optimistic About Meeting PTC Deadline

May 5, 2020

Although most railroads are optimistic about implementing positive train control systems by the end of this year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office recently said railroads face tight schedules to get the work done.

GAO said that as of Dec. 31, 2019, 17 of the 31 railroads required to have an interoperable PTC system, meaning it can be used by all tenant railroads on its tracks, had achieved that milestone.

In total 42 railroads must have PTC fully implemented by Dec. 31 of this year.

That means having a PTC system in place that has been certified by the Federal Railroad Administration.

GAO said at the end of 2019 more than three-quarters of the railroads were conducting advanced testing or had implemented PTC on their own tracks, but had work left to reach full implementation.

In previous reports, GAO said software and vendor issues have hindered PTC implementation.

The most recent GAO report said those issues have grown more acute as many railroads face compressed schedules to meet the Dec. 31, 2020, deadline.

Railroads will need to complete some tasks tasks in a shorter time than originally planned due to software issues or other unique circumstances.

GAO said the COVID-19 pandemic create risks that could affect some railroads’ ability to meet the deadline.

The report said the FRA, vendors and railroads are taking steps to mitigate those risks.

FRA officials have worked with railroads to identify solutions to technical problems and have provided resources to regions identified as needing additional implementation assistance.

The GAO report quoted FRA officials as saying they are “closely monitoring” the effect of the pandemic on PTC implementation.

Nonetheless, GAO said it was told by the FRA, vendors and railroads that they are optimistic that they’ll overcome these challenges and achieve full PTC implementation on schedule.

Four railroads reported considering contingency plans if they, or their tenants, cannot meet the deadline, GAO officials said.

FRA Says Most Railroads are PTC Compliant

February 28, 2020

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


PTC Operating on 98.5% of Class 1 Route Miles

January 31, 2020

At the end of 2019 positive train control was in operation on 98.5 percent of the required Class I railroad route miles the Association of American Railroads said this week.

PTC is in operation across 53,001 miles of 53,676 miles of PTC-required track.

In a news release, AAR said the Class 1 carriers are posed to meet the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31, 2020, for full PTC implementation, with several railroads already operating it across their entire required PTC footprint.

AAR said the remaining Class 1 carriers continue to test their PTC systems to ensure they are fully interoperable and work seamlessly across operations.

Class 1 railroads have spent $11.47 billion on PTC development, installation and implementation.

This has included the installation of wayside, back office and locomotive hardware.

AAR said all carriers have all spectrum in place and had completed all necessary employee training as of the end of 2018.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 requires railroads to implement PTC to prevent four major types of train accidents: Train-to-train collisions; derailments caused by excessive speed; unauthorized incursions by trains into sections of track where maintenance activity is taking place; and movement of a train through a track switch left in the wrong position.