Amtrak completes PTC implementation

Positive Train ControlAmtrak has completed the Positive Train Control implementation on all its controlled tracks, with the final installation on a 1.6 km of slow-speed track at the complex Chicago terminal.

To date, Amtrak’s Positive Train Control has been installed on all its 550 locomotives which are operable, and on 11 installation/track segments. 160 radio towers are fully installed and equipped while all employees who require training to support PTC operations have completed training. 898 of 898 route miles (1,445 km) are in PTC operation.

At the same time, Amtrak is working with tenant railway companies that operate its infrastructure to complete interoperability testing and is on target for all tenant trains to be operating with PTC before the federal mandate.

December 31, 2020 is the deadline for PTC implementation across the US railway system, as required by Congress.

PTC systems use communication-based and processor-based train control technology to reliably and functionally prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and movements of trains through switches in the wrong position.

According with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), as of June 2020, PTC systems in the US were in revenue service demonstration (RSD) or in operation on approximately 56,846 route miles (91,484 km), representing 98.8% of the 57,537 route miles (92,596) subject to the mandate.

PTC systems are currently governing operations on all PTC-mandated main lines owned or controlled by Class I railways and other freight host railways. As of June 30, 2020, 76.1% of commuter railway operators’ mandated route miles were governed by PTC technology.

As of June, host railways reported that interoperability has been achieved by 65.5% of the 220 applicable. Based on the criteria FRA uses to evaluate the risk of noncompliance, the authority considers New Jersey Transit and New Mexico Rail Runner Express the two host railways which are at risk of not fully implementing PTC on all required main lines by December 31, 2020.


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