FRA “Highly Pleased” With 98.8% PTC Implementation

Written by Andrew Corselli

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)’s second-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 June 30, 2020, the job is 98.8% 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 700 required route-miles.

As of June 30, PTC systems were in RSD or in operation on approximately 56,846 of the 57,537 route-miles subject to the mandate. This represents a 0.7% point increase since 1Q20 and indicates that PTC technology was activated on an additional 305 miles during 2Q. As previously reported, PTC systems are currently governing operations on all PTC-mandated main lines owned or controlled by Class I railroads and other freight host railroads. As of June 30, 76.1% of commuter railroads’ mandated route miles were governed by PTC technology—a 12.9% point increase since the last quarter.

In addition, as of June 30, host railroads reported that interoperability has been achieved by 65.5% of the 220 applicable, host-tenant railroad relationships—a 17% point increase since 1Q20.

Based on the criteria FRA utilizes to evaluate the risk of noncompliance, FRA currently “considers two host railroads at risk of not fully implementing PTC on all required main lines by Dec. 31, 2020: New Jersey Transit (NJT) and New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX/Rio Metro). Two railroads were removed from the at-risk list based on their substantial progress in 2Q20: the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad (Metra) and TEXRail. Both railroads entered RSD on 100% of their required main lines and submitted their PTC Safety Plans and are now focusing on completing interoperability by the December deadline.”

Infographics depicting railroads’ progress toward fully implementing PTC systems as of June 30 can be found here. The public version of each railroad’s Quarterly PTC Progress Report for 2Q20 can be found here.

“I am highly pleased by the amount of progress railroads have made moving toward fully implementing PTC systems,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “While more work lies ahead, the significant advancements made thus far are encouraging. I applaud all railroads involved in this unprecedented effort for their intensive collaboration to get all concerned to the finish line.”

“This is the kind of synergy, partnership and cooperation we want to encourage,” said Batory.

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