At the conclusion of 2019, Positive Train Control (PTC) was in operation across 98.5% of the required Class I route miles, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Positive Train Control
Based on self-reported Third Quarter 2019 (Q3) PTC (Positive Train Control) Progress Reports, which were due to the Federal Railroad Administration by Oct. 31, 2019, the majority of the 42 railroads subject to the statutory implementation requirement are operating PTC systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing known as a revenue service demonstration (RSD).
Three Norfolk Southern freight trains were involved in a Nov. 8 derailment in Hempfield, Pa., about three miles east of Greensburg, Pa. (near Pittsburgh), on the high-density Pittsburgh-Philadelphia double-track main line. There were no injuries and no hazmat spills. NS restored service on both main tracks early Nov. 10. The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.
Editor’s Note: At an Oct. 8, 2019 presentation before the W.A.R.E.S. (Washington Area Railway Engineering Society) Annual Conference, Steve Ditmeyer, Principal of Transportation Technology and Economics, presented his vision of what he calls “NextGen Train Control,” or “What comes next after Positive Train Control.” Following are excerpts from his talk. The entire presentation can be downloaded from the link following this story. – William C. Vantuono
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has unveiled a complete back-office Positive Train Control (PTC)-hosted solution designed with short lines in mind, provided by Herzog Technologies, Inc.
With 16 months left until the Congressionally mandated Dec. 31, 2020 deadline for full implementation of PTC (Positive Train Control), the U.S. railroad industry is drawing close, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Second-Quarter 2019 PTC Progress Report.
LEGISLATIVE REPORT, APRIL 2019 – Knock, knock. Who’s there? If at the door are those laboring in official Washington, the answer is, “many new faces”—new congressional committee chairs, regulators, association chiefs, lobbyists and labor negotiators. Does not danger dwell where unfamiliarity and uncertainty lurk?
“HOW SAFE ARE AMERICA’S RAILROADS? Lesley Stahl reports on a recent string of crashes on U.S. railroads and the delay in implementing life-saving technology that could have prevented them.” Oh brother. I think you know what CBS 60 Minutes reported on March 3. It’s not pretty. But in my humble opinion, the rail industry can take most of the responsibility for what turned out to be a damaging report, because no one in the rail industry wanted to go on camera. More on that later. Here, after the fact unfortunately, is my attempt to shed light on some of the misconceptions and negative picture of our industry the 60 Minutes program perpetuated.
The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded MTA Metro-North Railroad a grant of up to $2.3 million to support Positive Train Control (PTC) communications testing. The grant, part of the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, will help Metro-North improve the performance of PTC radio spectrum utilization required to make PTC operational on the Northeast Corridor.
When building any radio system, the scarcest and most precious system component is not the radios, the antennas nor the towers, but available “clean” radio channels on which to transmit. That’s why specialized narrow-beam antennas can ease frequency planning and reduce interference for railroad communications.