US proposes amendment to positive train control systems

29 August 2011 (Last Updated August 29th, 2011 18:30)

The US has proposed changes to the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) rule regarding the installation of positive train control (PTC) systems that will give railroads greater flexibility in assessing the need for PTC on certain lines. The amendments will provide flexibility to railr

The US has proposed changes to the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) rule regarding the installation of positive train control (PTC) systems that will give railroads greater flexibility in assessing the need for PTC on certain lines.

The amendments will provide flexibility to railroads and FRA in assessing the need for PTC without affecting the safety of America's rail lines.

PTC is currently required on routes carrying poison inhalation hazard (PIH) materials, and on routes that provide intercity and commuter passenger services.

Under the existing rule, if a railroad opts to reroute the shipment of PIH hazmats off such a rail line and chooses to not install PTC there, the company must currently request FRA approval and conduct a complex set of analyses.

The changes would eliminate the need to perform the analyses; the existing requirements to install PTC on lines used to provide passenger rail service remain in place.

With the new amendment, by not installing PTC systems on 14,000 miles of track US railroad companies are expected to save $340m in the first few years, with total savings reaching up to $1bn over 20 years.