FRA: Railroads Make Uneven Progress on PTC Implementation

Commuter and freight railroads have made uneven progress in implementing Positive Train Control (PTC), the Federal Railroad Administration said today.

Freight railroads now have PTC active on 12 percent of their tracks, up from 9 percent last quarter, the FRA said. Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter.

The measurable progress made by passenger railroads has been predominately on the West Coast, while East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.

“Passenger and freight railroads must continue their progress implementing Positive Train Control and work to beat the deadlines Congress set – because PTC saves lives,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a news release.Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts include:

Since 2008, FRA has provided significant assistance to support railroads’ PTC implementation. Those efforts, according to the FRA, include:

  • FRA has provided more than $716 million to passenger railroads, including nearly $400 million in Recovery Act funding.
  • Issued a nearly $1 billion loan to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to implement PTC on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North.
  • Awarded $25 million in grant funding to railroads, suppliers and state and local governments. Many awards will help railroads achieve interoperability among the different PTC systems that railroads are deploying.
  • Made $199 million in grants available to commuter railroads in fiscal year 2017 to implement PTC.
  • Building a PTC testbed at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado.
  • Working directly with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to improve the approval process for PTC communication towers.
  • Dedicating staff to work on PTC implementation, including establishing a PTC task force.

“In order to achieve full PTC implementation, everyone has to do their part – railroads must make implementation a priority, and Congress must make funding for commuter railroads a priority,” FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg said in a news release.