LIRR train

US primary system integrator Parsons has won a contract to install positive train control (PTC), anti-collision technology on Metra commuter trains in Chicago, Illinois.

Parson’s PTC is approved by the US Government to prevent train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movement of trains through a main line with switch left in an improper position.

Parsons Group president Todd Wager said: "PTC will significantly improve safety for Chicago’s travelling public."

"PTC will significantly improve safety for Chicago’s travelling public."

As part of Metra’s biggest expenditure on PTC, Parsons will install an electronic train management system that is interoperable with 12 railroads, integrating the locomotive-mounted GPS devices, radios, trackside antennas and computers.

Parsons PTC system has been supporting Metrolink, Caltrain, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit in the US.

In April, the US Federal Railroad Administration has approved a $967.1m loan to support the installation of PTC on the Long Island and Metro-North railroads in New York.

The two railroads will install onboard components for 1,455 rail cars and transponders alongside 588 route miles of track.

Earlier this year, Metra launched the confidential ‘close calls’ programme, which allows its employees to report about any safety concerns or violations of operating rules, without being penalised by the authorities.

Through the programme, Metra seeks to collect data about close calls that otherwise would go unreported or underreported for the fear of being penalised.

Examples of close calls would be trains travelling at excessive speed, workers nearly struck by trains, trains running through a switch or a passenger door opened on the wrong side of the train, Metra said.

Image: Parsons will PTC anti-collision technology on Metra’s trains. Photo: courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority.