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Union Pacific has 70% of route miles in PTC operation

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, Editor, Railway Track & Structures; and Engineering Editor, Railway Age
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Union Pacific released data as of Aug. 17, 2018, detailing its progress implementing Positive Train Control (PTC).

The Class 1 has equipped 99% of its locomotives, prepared 99% of the required track segments and has completed 97% of the needed employee training.

The Omaha-based carrier explains that it is required to implement PTC on more than 17,000 route miles or roughly one-third of all U.S. PTC miles, making its PTC footprint the largest of all North American railroads

“Installing and implementing PTC across the U.S. rail network is costly and complex. One of the most challenging parts of PTC implementation is ensuring system interoperability among all U.S. rail lines and locomotives,” said UP in a release.

According to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) PTC progress data through June 30, 2018, Union Pacific has achieved interoperability with two of its 34 tenant railroads.

“Given the various readiness levels of North American freight and passenger railroads, including publicly funded commuter lines and short lines, it is important that all railroads continue working together to maintain the health, safety, resiliency, and fluidity of the rail network during PTC implementation,” the railroad said.

Between April 1, 2018, and Aug. 17, 2018, Union Pacific’s accomplishments included:

  • Preparing additional track segments for PTC operations, bringing the total number of track segments to 180, or 99% complete. These track segments are equipped with wayside devices such as signals, switches and radios and have defined GPS coordinates, which identify thousands of precise locations for system wide PTC coordination.
  • Educating more than 25,690 additional employees on PTC operations, or 97%. Training materials are tailored to a variety of employee roles, including engineer, conductor, dispatcher, maintenance of way/engineering, mechanical, signal, telecom and information technologies.
  • Increasing by approximately 1,020 the number of installed PTC route miles, bringing the total number of route miles in PTC operations to 11,920, or 70%.

Union Pacific explains that it is in regular contact with the FRA regarding its PTC progress and will continue to implement, test and refine its system in 2019-20.

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