PTC

The folly of hearings and fines

Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono, writing about the most recent congressional hearing on Positive Train Control, as well as attempts by some Members of Congress to arm-twist the Federal Railroad Administration on granting exemptions, opined, “I’ve said it before many times, but it’s always worth repeating: Politics should not be involved in safety. Why engage in politics at this stage of the game? What is the agenda here? Who or what is behind this?”

Amtrak clarifies PTC position

Testifying on Sept. 13 at a House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing on Positive Train Control, Amtrak Chief Operating Officer Scot Naparstek said—in contrast to what President and CEO Richard Anderson has stated in previous hearings—that the railroad will not discontinue long-distance train operations on freight railroad routes that lack fully functioning PTC by Jan, 1, 2019, and will apply to the Federal Railroad Administration for an alternative schedule with a Dec. 31, 2020 deadline.

PTC Political Circus, Act (fill in the blank)

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Railroad Subcommittee has scheduled yet another pointless, time-consuming “status review” hearing on PTC. The people actually doing the implementation work—railroads, suppliers, consultants, FRA—get to spend another day getting peppered with pointless questions from clueless politicians who obviously don’t bother reading reports or doing basic research, and delight in wasting valuable people’s valuable time to prop up their huge egos and give the appearance of actually doing something useful.