Virgin Trains USA (VTUSA), more commonly known under its original name, Brightline, has reached a $120 million agreement with Wabtec for the implementation of Positive Train Control.
Under various contracts, the PTC implementation will be executed in two phases: In the first phase, Wabtec will install its Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS®) PTC safety overlay on Virgin Trains USA’s 67-mile rail corridor between Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla., including a back-office system, and fitment of Florida East Coast Railway (on whose tracks VTUSA operates) freight locomotives and VTUSA Siemens Charger passenger locomotives.
Phase two entails installation of I-ETMS along the under-construction West Palm Beach to Orlando rail corridor. Wabtec will conduct the complete design, material integration, construction, system integration, project management, and train control implementation and deploy a wireless crossing activation system for VTUSA’s higher-speed trains.
In total, Wabtec will equip 90 FECR freight and VTUSA passenger locomotives with its I-ETMS train control technology. Separately, Wabtec will deliver signal design and implementation services for the phase two portion of the project.
As an on-board geographic database and global positioning system, I-ETMS aims to provide an additional safety overlay by continuously calculating warning and braking curves based on all relevant train and track information including speed, location, movement authority, speed restrictions, work zones and consist restrictions.
“This is a great opportunity to work on one of the most unique rail projects in the United States,” said Rajendra Jadhav, President of Wabtec’s Signaling, Communication and Wayside business. “Virgin Trains USA is the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail service in the country. Our PTC solution provides a robust path for Virgin Trains to meet its project schedule and goals.”
“Safety is our number one priority and PTC is a critical part of that mission,” said Michael Cegelis, Executive Vice President, Rail Infrastructure, VTUSA. “Wabtec’s PTC technology has an impressive track record in the rail industry, and this was the right solution to support the safe operation of our growing rail network. In addition, the simplicity of accommodating new and modified infrastructure to the system, and train operational efficiencies were features that were influential in selecting the I-ETMS technology.”
VTUSA/Brightline has suspended service, even though construction work continues on the Orlando Extension. A reopening date has not been announced. At the same time, the company has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Miami-Dade County for the right to negotiate to operate publicly subsidized commuter rail service on the FECR main line into the new Miami Central Station. SFRTA (South Florida Regional Transportation Authority), which operates Tri-Rail commuter trains on a Florida DOT-owned right-of-way west of and parallel to the FECR line, also seeks to operate that service.