Posts Tagged ‘PTC deadline’

FRA Reports PTC Progress

March 20, 2017

A Federal Railroad Administration report released last week said that positive train control has been installed and is active on 16 percent of freight railroads and 24 percent of passenger railroads.

That is an increase from 16 percent on freight railroads and 23 percent of passenger railroads in the third quarter of 2016.

The FRA said that 41 percent of passenger railroad locomotives are fully equipped with PTC technology, compared with 29 percent in the third quarter.

The percentage of freight railroad locomotives equipped with PTC rose to 42 percent compared with 38 percent in the third quarter of 2016.

The railroad industry faces a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline to install and implement PTC.

Commuter Rails 23% PTC Compliant

February 23, 2017

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that U.S. commuter railroads are on schedule to meet the December 2018 deadline for implementing positive train control systems.

APTAAPTA said that at the end of 2016 that PTC had been installed on 3,150 route miles (23 percent) of commuter-rail track.

Last November APTA said 22 percent of the nation’s commuter railroad track had PTC.

Thirty percent of the locomotive and cab cars of commuter railroads had received a PTC installation and 70 percent of the radio spectrum needed for PTC had been acquired.

In a news release, APTA said that funding remains a critical concern for commuter-rail agencies because PTC installations are expected to cost $3.5 billion.

APTA said that although Congress has authorized $199 million for PTC implementation it hasn’t appropriated the funds.

FRA Says PTC Progress is Uneven

November 29, 2016

Progress toward the implementation of positive train control has been uneven, the Federal Railroad Administration said in a report based on third quarter 2016 information submitted by railroads.

FRAThe FRA said PTC is active on 12 percent of freight railroad lines, an increase from 9 percent in the second quarter.

Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter.

In a news release, the FRA said the greatest progress has occurred on the West Coast. East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.

APTA Says Commuter Railroads on Schedule to Meet PTC Deadline in Late 2018

November 17, 2016

The American Public Transportation Association said that commuter railroads are on schedule to meet the federally-mandated 2018 deadline to implement positive train control.

aptaAPTA said that 22 percent of the 3,150 route miles of commuter rail in the country are in service with the technology or are in full PTC demonstration and awaiting Federal Railroad Administration approval.

An APTA survey found that 27 percent of the 3,400 locomotives and cab cars have been equipped with PTC hardware, while 70 percent of the required radio spectrum has been acquired.

The railroad industry faces a deadline of the end of 2018 to install PTC on lines that handle passenger service and hazardous freight.

In a news release, APTA said that funding for PTC remains a critical concern.

PTC implementation is expected to cost the commuter-rail industry more than $3.5 billion, including more than $16 million in spectrum acquisition and $100 million annually in additional maintenance costs.

Through October, commuter railroads had spent more than $1.5 billion on the technology.

South Shore Says it Will Meet PTC Deadline

October 26, 2016

The South Shore commuter line expects to complete the installation of positive train control within two years.

South Shore logoPassenger railroads are facing a Dec. 31, 2018, deadline to have PTC installed and operational. The Federal Railroad Administration has said that deadline won’t be pushed back again as it was last year.

“Our intention is to meet that deadline,” said South Shore President Michael Noland.

Noland said the South Shore, which operates between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, has borrowed $100 million to pay for PTC and will be paying off that debt for the next 20 years.

About $80 million of that bond issue is for a contract with Parsons Transportation Group, which also will be installing PTC on Metra trains in Chicago.

The South Shore said it will begin installing PTC equipment in its 72 power cars in an addition that it is building at its Michigan City shops.

Amtrak OIG Urges Budgeting for PTC

October 22, 2016

Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General is urging the passenger carriers to budget for the installation of positive train control.

Amtrak logoIn a report, the OIG, said that although Amtrak has has made strides in implementing automated braking technology, it still has several tasks to complete before it reaches full implementation before the end of the federally-mandated deadline of 2018

The report said Amtrak still needs to complete 33 percent of its planned trackside installations, submit a safety plan to the Federal Railroad Administration, resolve potential radio frequency spectrum issues and install onboard systems in its locomotives.

The OIG report said Amtrak has not properly accounted for the full cost of PTC technology. Those costs may be “millions more than is currently budgeted.”

Amtrak had spent about $183 million on PTC implementation through June 30 and plans to spend about another $35 million through 2018.

But those estimates are “incomplete” and don’t include other potential contingency costs, the OIG report concluded.

The OIG encouraged Amtrak to update its costs estimates in order to ensure that sufficient funds are available for the project and to enhance project schedules to better track the completion of key events and remaining tasks and clarify the roles of managers who are responsible for PTC implementation.

The report said that Amtrak management agreed with all three recommendations.

CSX, NS, CN Can’t Make 2018 PTC Deadline

February 4, 2016

First they said they couldn’t meet the 2015 deadline and now three Class 1 railroads have told the Federal Railroad Administration that they won’t meet the 2018 deadline to implement positive train control.

Also saying that they can’t meet the deadline were commuter railroads SunRail in Florida, Chicago’s Metra, Trinity Railway Express in Dallas-Fort Worth and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

FRAFour other Class 1 railroads – BNSF, Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern – said they would meet the deadline.

The deadline had been Dec. 31, 2015, but was moved back three years by Congress after intensive lobbying by the railroad industry.

The law moving the deadline to 2018 contains a provision that under certain conditions railroads will have until 2020 to turn on their PTC systems.

FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg has warned the railroad industry not to assume that they will be given an automatic extensive to 2020.

FRA Tells Railroads to Submit PTC Plans

November 25, 2015

They won the extension, but now the railroad industry is being told that they had better make good use of the additional time.

The Federal Railroad Administration has sent letters to railroads warning them that they will be held to a strict schedule to meet the new deadline to install positive train control systems.

“The focus has to remain on getting PTC up and running and implemented as soon as possible,” Federal Railroad Administrator Sarah Feinberg said in a speech to a railroad conference last week. “I recognize that the legislation allows 2018 to be the goal and there can be a potential extension beyond 2018 to 2020. But the deadline is 2018. If you need to get to 2020, there are certain boxes that have to be checked in order to get there.”

In her letter to the railroads, Feinberg described what the FRA expects the railroads to do, which includes submit a detailed plan before the end of January for PTC implementation, with justifications for the pace at which the railroad intends to proceed.

Railroads are also to provide the FRA with annual reports thereafter.

Extensions beyond 2018 deadline will be considered only if a railroad had demonstrated a good-faith effort to comply with the federal mandate.

“What Feinberg was saying in her letter was ‘Don’t even send me a plan that says [you will complete installation by] 2020,’ ” an FRA official told The Washington Post. “Her main concern right now is that people are focused on 2020 and they’re not focused on 2018. She’s telling them, ‘If you happen to get to 2018 and you have met these criteria and benchmarks to be eligible [for an extension to 2020], then we’ll talk about it at that point.’”

Feinberg reiterated that point in her recent speech to the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee.

“Over the last year, I am sure you have observed that FRA is in a much more aggressive posture on PTC and everyone should expect for that posture to continue,” she said.

NS Cancels Passenger, Freight Embargo

November 3, 2015

Amtrak passengers and shipper of hazardous materials can breathe easy now that Congress has extended the deadline for installation of positive train control systems.

Norfolk Southern has revoked an earlier notice that it would embargo poisonous-inhalation-hazard commodities for transportation starting on Dec. 1. It also planned to cease  handling passenger trains on Jan. 1.

NS cited the congressional action. The original deadline to implement PTC had been Dec. 31.

“Norfolk Southern remains committed to installing a fully functional and interoperable PTC system on our rail network as quickly as reasonably and safely possible, and in compliance with the law,” NS said in a letter sent to customers last week.

Senate Approves Stopgap Transportation Funding

October 29, 2015

The Senate on Wednesday adopted the stopgap transportation funding bill approved earlier this week by the House and with it gave the green light to a three-year extension of the positive train control deadline.

President Obama is expected to sign the legislation, which would mean that passenger train operations and the carriage of hazardous cargo will continue unabated in 2016.

The legislation extended federal transportation highway and transit spending authority through Nov. 20. That authority was set to expire today (Oct.  29).

Congress is expected to work out a longer term authorization of federal transportation spending before the end of this year.

Federal law has given the nation’s railroads until Dec. 31 to install PTC on lines carrying passengers and hazardous cargo.

The railroad industry had said that it will be unable to meet that deadline and threatened to embargo passenger trains and hazardous cargo rather than pay fines imposed by the Federal Railroad Administration.