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Wabtec lands MARC PTC contract

Written by Douglas John Bowen

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved a $13 million contract with Wabtec Corp. subsidiary Wabtec Railway Electronics to install Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment on MARC regional passenger railcars.

The contract, announced Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, includes the installation of PTC hardware on 32 MARC locomotives and 30 cab cars, as well as maintenance of the equipment through 2017.

“We’re all for it,” John Hovatter, MARC’s director, told local media. “Anything to make our trains safer for our passengers and for the railroad, that’s what we want to do.”

MARC operates over the Brunswick Line, linking Washington, D.C. with Frederick, Md., and with a separate leg terminating in Martinsburg, W. Va., and the Camden Line, linking the nation’s capital and Baltimore. Both rail routes operate over right-of-way owned by CSX Corp. MARC’s Penn Line traverses Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) from Washington through Baltimore to Perryville, Md. Amtrak’s Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) is already active on much of the NEC, and Amtrak says the entire corridor will be covered by ACSES by the congressional deadline of Dec. 31, 2015.

For its own part, “Our goal here at MARC was to beat that deadline with the part that we had to take care of, and we’re going to do that,” Hovattaer said.

Amtrak and MARC plan to build test track north of Perryville, to test MARC equipment’s compatibility with ACSES at speeds above 79 mph, using a $700,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration, Hovatter said.

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