ASLRRA receives DOT Technology Grant for PTC implementation

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) announced on August 16 that it has received a grant from FY2016 Railroad Safety Technology Grant Funds, made available through the Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration. The $2.5 million grant will support the development and implementation of a back-office product that delivers Positive Train Control (PTC). The product will be made available to all short line and regional railroads.

“The implementation of PTC is one of the most complex and challenging projects to be mandated for the U.S. Rail System, particularly for our 460 short line members, who often do not have the technology staff and expertise, but have a complicated role to play, integrating with multiple Class I systems,” said Linda Bauer Darr, President, ASLRRA. “This grant will enable us to rapidly move forward with providing an affordable solution for small railroads.”

Short lines have to bankroll the implementation with much scarcer resources at a very high cost per track mile, versus the large carriers. Concerns about complexity, financial support, and technology expertise for development led ASLRRA to explore PTC implementation options for its members. ASLRRA’s PTC Working Committee, comprised of staff, industry experts and small railroad CEOs, determined that a single-source PTC back office solution would assist short lines in lowering costs, accelerating implementation, and increasing interoperability between host and tenant operations.

An ongoing service model will ensure that such issues as configuration management of multi-railroad PTC software and hardware, communications interference, and firmware and software upgrades are handled seamlessly for participating railroads.

“Our PTC Working Committee has worked diligently on behalf of all short line and regional railroads,” said Jo Strang, ASLRRA’s Vice President of Safety and Regulatory Policy. “The committee’s work, directed by the results of an ASLRRA railroad member survey, will bring a scalable solution to short lines. We intend to make a selection for board approval by the end of October, 2016.”

Congress appropriated $25 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, Division L, Title I (Public Law 114-113 [December 18, 2015]), to carry out railroad safety technology grants as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 20158. To maximize the benefits of the funding available, FRA limited the eligible projects to those that implement a Positive Train Control (PTC) system or, will otherwise benefit overall PTC system implementation on freight, intercity passenger, and commuter railroads.




Categories: C&S, M/W, Regulatory, Short Lines & Regionals Tags: , , , , , , ,