PTC

FRA: PTC at 98%

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) first-quarter 2020 update on railroads’ self-reported progress on fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) by the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline shows that, as of March 31, 2020, the job is 98% complete. Nearly all railroads subject to the statutory mandate are operating their systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD), with PTC technology remaining to be activated on only approximately 1,100 required route-miles.

Old Enough to Know Better, Young Enough to Care

I confess to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to railroads. Not orthodox, not conservative and certainly not rigid, but a traditionalist. For example, I think a railroad line officer is a trainmaster and not a transportation manager, operations services supervisor or anything else. I’m a traditionalist, so I never thought I’d have to argue certain fundamentals. Silly, traditional me.

Managing Costs During A Pandemic

North American rail managers are good at managing costs, but 2020 might be their ultimate challenge. Let’s say you are in charge at a freight railroad. What do you do in such hard times with so many fixed costs? You can ratchet down variable costs. That’s easy. The tougher part is twisting a large part of those fixed costs into segments of variable costs. How do you do that? Let’s start by defining what these railroad costs are.

Railway Age 2020 Readers’ Most Influential Leaders

Railway Age is pleased to present the results of its first annual Readers’ Most Influential Leaders poll. We asked subscribers, through an online poll, to nominate active (non-retired) people from all areas of the North American railway industry they believe are the most influential. Here are highlights of the top 10; full profiles will appear in the May issue of Railway Age.

FRMCS: Making 5G a Rail Reality

5G wireless communications will be a big part of the railway industry’s future. 5G systems will provide many new capabilities, higher reliability, lower latencies and ultra-broadband connectivity to support many new and important applications. But making 5G a reality and moving on from GSM-R or other legacy radio technologies is complex. The questions are, how soon, and what is the best route to get there? There are different aspects of the transition to consider.

Wabtec, Tronix3D Partner to Provide PPE

Wabtec Corp. and Tronix3D are partnering to provide much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for Excela Health, a health system provider of advanced medical care in Pennsylvania. The partnership is leveraging additive technology to produce 1,000 face shields for the hospital this week, which are critical for frontline healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UPDATED MARCH 27: Stimulus Bill—Signed Into Law—CARES For Rail

President Trump on March 27 signed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, into law, following swift passage in the House of Representatives by voice vote, and one day after the U.S. Senate passed the bill in a unanimous 96-0 vote. The CARES Act is a $2 trillion stimulus package that addresses the devastating economic and societal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes many funding measures that directly benefit the railway industry—all modes, freight and passenger.

FRA, Responding to Industry Joint Petition, Issues Emergency Waiver

In response to a Petition from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a 60-day emergency waiver for certain requirements of FRA’s rail safety regulations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The petitioners, on behalf of their member railroads, requested relief from certain requirements of 49 CFR Parts 213, 214, 217, 218, 219, 220, 228, 229, 232, 234, 236, 239, 240, and 242.

“Saving America”

A Union Pacific locomotive engineer based in the Pacific Northwest who had just received his notice of exemption from travel restrictions proudly told Railway Age Contributing Editor Bruce Kelly, “We’ve gone from building America to saving it.” This UP field employee in Train & Engine Service has embraced his railroad’s slogan, “Building America,” and his heartfelt statement takes it to a higher level—from motto to mantra.