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Amtrak: Diesel fleet PTC-compliant by deadline

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Working with Rockwell Collins, Amtrak plans to equip approximately 310 diesel-electric locomotives with Positive Train Control (PTC) technology to comply with the Dec. 31, 2018 federal deadline mandated by the amended Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008.

Amtrak has signed an agreement with Rockwell Collins to implement the company’s ARINC RailwayNet℠ service, a hosted network, messaging and application platform designed to meet PTC requirements. RailwayNet℠ will allow Amtrak’s national diesel-electric locomotive fleet to interface with the PTC systems of host railroads. Under the agreement, Rockwell Collins will initialize the fleet to operate on 19 railroads, including commuter and freight lines that host Amtrak services, among them state-sponsored routes in the East and Midwest.

Amtrak is well along on PTC implementation. In December 2015, Amtrak activated ACSES (Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System), its version of PTC for the Northeast Corridor, between New York and Washington, D.C. ACSES has been operational on the NEC’s northern-most section, between Boston and New Haven, Conn., since 2000. ITCS (Incremental Train Control System, another version of PTC) has been operational since 2002 along 97 miles of Amtrak-owned right-of-way in Michigan and Indiana on the Chicago-Detroit corridor. In early 2016, Amtrak activated ACSES on the 104-mile Philadelphia-Harrisburg line, an extension of the NEC.

“PTC is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to enhance rail transportation safety by automatically stopping a train before certain types of incidents occur,” said Amtrak Senior Manager of Positive Train Control George Hartman “We are dedicated to ensuring our locomotives are enabled with this important safety technology.”


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