The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials held its second hearing of the year on Sept. 13 on implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC).
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?”
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.
Chicago’s Metra will not raise fares in 2019, but could cut services beginning in 2020 if it doesn’t receive state funding.
The Federal Railroad Administration is making available the remaining $46.3 million of $250 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program grant money. FRA on Sept. 12 issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), to solicit applications.
Pacific Harbor Line (PHL), an Anacostia & Pacific switching and terminal railroad, has promoted Stephane Perri to General Superintendent. He will be directing all transportation operations in his new role.
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.
The League of Railway Women (LRW) has launched its new website, www.railwaywomen.org, commensurate with it official name change from the “League of Railway Industry Women.”
If the new Amtrak management team is sincerely trying to improve safety, we ought to all support what they are doing. But if Amtrak is only using safety as a stalking horse to pursue another agenda (such as discontinuing L-D trains, as is believed in many circles), it should be called out on it.
Short lines Chicago Rail Link and Illinois Railway recently received federal grants to aid in the deployment of Positive Train Control technology.