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December 30, 2020

US completes implementation of key rail safety technology

The US has completed the implementation of positive train control (PTC), a rail safety technology, on all required railroad route miles in the country.

The US has completed the implementation of positive train control (PTC), a rail safety technology, on all required railroad route miles in the country.

The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that PTC technology is now operational on 57,536 required freight and passenger railroad route miles.

The objective was achieved before the 31 December 2020 deadline set by the US Congress.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said: “Achieving 100% PTC implementation is a tremendous accomplishment and reflects the Department’s top priorities – safety, innovation, and infrastructure.”

PTC systems are designed to increase railway safety by preventing train-to-train collisions, and over-speed derailments. The system is also effective in preventing incursions into established work zones and train movements due to wrong switch position.

The technology was implemented through active collaboration among FRA and the 41 railroads subject to the statutory mandate, including seven Class I railroads, Amtrak, 28 commuter railroads, and 5 other freight railroads.

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Overall, the US DOT awarded $3.4bn in grant and loan funding to support the implementation of PTC technology within the timeframe.

FRA administrator Ronald L. Batory said: “On behalf of extraordinary professionals at FRA and myself, I congratulate the railroads, particularly their frontline workers, as well as PTC system suppliers and vendors on this transformative accomplishment.

“Furthermore, many industry associations, including the Association of American Railroads, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, American Public Transportation Association, Commuter Rail Coalition, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, Railway Supply Institute, and Railway Systems Suppliers, have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting this unprecedented undertaking.”

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