Illinois Railway, LLC (IR), operated by OmniTRAX, Inc., has become one of the first short line railroads to implement fully functional positive train control (PTC) and enable state-of-the-art safety on its trains.
IR has installed PTC equipment on three locomotives to maintain inter-operability with similar technology used by BNSF and Metra trains operating on part of Metra’s busiest commuter territory between Aurora and Eola, Ill. IR was awarded a grant by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for 70% of the PTC deployment cost.
IR’s PTC system—which took less than a year from grant award to deployment and was supported by Wabtec, which provided the hardware, configuration, installation, lab and field testing and training for the project—constantly monitors numerous locomotives, track and train network variables. While in PTC territory, the technology communicates with BNSF track wayside units and acts to prevent speed violations and collisions.
“We are delighted to be a first mover on PTC in the short line industry and are making our railroad even safer than it already was,” said OmniTRAX CEO Kevin Shuba. “We credit Ron Batory, who has made PTC the focus of his leadership of the FRA, as well as U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois Department of Transportation and BNSF for their support of this project.”
“OmniTRAX works hard to be a good corporate citizen at all of our rail operations,” said Sergio Sabatini, COO, OmniTRAX. “The PTC system on the IR is state-of-the-art for a short line railroad and will work to keep the citizens of the area safe while enabling our customers to continue efficiently moving their freight.”