Former FRA Administrator: Railroads Have Made ‘Substantial Progress’ on PTC

A Train Director in Chicago
A Train Director in Chicago directs trains at Union Station keeping the trains on schedule and making sure everything is safe. (Photo courtesy of Architecture and Interiors: FXCollaborative)

The nation’s railroads have made significant strides implementing Positive Train Control (PTC), a former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) administrator tells Trains.com.

“I think substantial progress has been made particularly considering where things stood when the Congressional Act was passed,” Allan Rutter, who served as administrator of the FRA from 2001 to 2004, told Trains.com. “I think that there are some folks on the safety side of things … who I think seemed to believe that this was something that they could go down to Radio Shack, put in the cabs and off they’d go.”

Congress required railroads to implement PTC as part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. At the end of 2018, railroads have installed PTC on 45,933 miles out of nearly 57,848 required route miles, federal numbers show.