NTSB Urges FRA to Incorporate New PTC Technology

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to formulate a plan to “incorporate promising new [Positive Train Control (PTC)] technology into the existing system that

FRA PTL: Supporting Next-Generation Train Operations

The ability to precisely locate and track train movement on the rail network is the cornerstone of modern train control systems. The Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS) and Positive Train Control (PTC) systems currently used by Class I railroads, operational on approximately 54,000 route-miles, rely on the Global Positioning System (GPS) to identify the location of the train lead locomotive, crew-entered track information, and switch position. The location of the rear of the train is then derived from the location of the lead locomotive using the train length, typically provided by the railroad’s management information systems (MIS) and confirmed or updated by the locomotive engineer.


Who Watches Out for the Watchman?

We, the railroads, have established certain principles of safe train operations that we wish were absolute, positive, inviolable. We apply one such principle in the enforcement of train separation: the principle that

  • PTC

FRA Issues Final Rule on Revised PTC Reporting

Effective Aug. 26, 2021, the Federal Railroad Administration is revising regulations governing changes to Positive Train Control (PTC) systems and reporting on PTC system performance.

100% PTC: An ‘Unprecedented Undertaking’

Positive Train Control (PTC) is now in operation on all 57,536 required freight and passenger railroad route-miles, ahead of the federal deadline of Dec. 31, the Federal Railroad Administration reported Dec. 29.

PTC: 0.4% To Go (!)

The “magic number” is 100%, and as of the end of third-quarter 2020 (Sept. 30), the railroad industry had reached 99.6% of fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) systems by the Dec. 31, 2020 federal deadline, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s quarterly status update on railroads’ self-reported progress.


Congratulations, NTSB!

I chuckle sometimes these days. Chuckling, in some circles is considered to be an indication of maturity, of wisdom. Those circles don’t include me, and they don’t mean me. Chuckling is that kind of half-wry, half-sad, half-surprised, half-jaded response—and that’s two many halves.

  • PTC

FRA “Highly Pleased” With 98.8% PTC Implementation

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)’s second-quarter 2020 update on railroads’ self-reported progress on fully implementing Positive Train Control (PTC) by the Dec. 31, 2020 deadline shows that, as of June 30, 2020, the job is 98.8% complete. Nearly all railroads subject to the statutory mandate are operating their systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD), with PTC technology remaining to be activated on only approximately 700 required route-miles.

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Virgin Trains USA, Wabtec Sign $120MM PTC Deal

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.