Monday, November 27, 2017

UP updates PTC progress; plans Minn. speed increase

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Union Pacific gave an update on its progress toward implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) and also announced plans to increase track speeds in southwest Minnesota following completion of a project.

Union Pacific says progress PTC made in the third quarter of 2017 includes the preparation of 31 additional track segments for PTC operations by equipping them with wayside devices (signals, switches and radios) and defining GPS coordinates, which identify thousands of precise locations for systemwide PTC coordination. This brings the total number of track segments to 135 or 73 percent complete, a 17 percent increase from the Class 1's second quarter progress report.

The railroad has educated more than 2,800 additional employees on PTC operations, bringing the total number of employees trained to about 18,800. Additionally, the railroad has increased the number of route miles in PTC operation by 1,700. This brings the total number of route miles in PTC operations to 7,559 (43 percent of total), which represents an increase of 1,695 route miles from its second quarter report.

Through Sept. 30, UP says it has:

  • Installed 98 percent, or 17,130 miles, of required route miles with PTC signal hardware.
  • Partially installed PTC hardware on 94 percent of its 5,656 locomotives earmarked for the technology.
  • Equipped 3,681 locomotives with PTC hardware and software.
  • Installed over 99 percent of the wayside antennas needed to support PTC along the company's right of way. The railroad still estimates its total spend on PTC in 2017 to be around $300 million toward the total $2.9 billion cost.

In southwest Minnesota, UP plans to increase the maximum track speed limit from 30 to 49 mph on the rail line running parallel to 2nd Avenue in Heron Lake.

The railroad said train speeds at the 9th Street crossing will increase in weekly five mph increments beginning Nov. 27 until reaching the 49 mph speed limit on Dec. 18. The increase in speed is made possible by a tie and rail improvement project that strengthened infrastructure.

Planned capital investment in Minnesota is $14 million in 2017 and is part of UP's $3.1 billion capital program.






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