By Railfan & Railroad
WASHINGTON — New Jersey Transit and New Mexico Rail Runner Express are both at risk of missing the Dec. 31 deadline for fully implementing the positive train control system, the Federal Railroad Administration announced this week. On Aug. 12, the FRA sent out its quarterly PTC installation update. As of June 30, PTC systems were in testing or in operation on approximately 56,846 route miles — 98.8 percent of the 57,537 route miles subject to the mandate.
“I am highly pleased by the amount of progress railroads have made moving toward fully implementing PTC systems,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “While more work lies ahead, the significant advancements made thus far are encouraging. I applaud all railroads involved in this unprecedented effort for their intensive collaboration to get all concerned to the finish line.”
Based on the criteria FRA utilizes to evaluate the risk of non-compliance, the agency currently considers two host railroads at risk of not fully implementing PTC: NJT and Rail Runner. Two other railroads that the FRA felt would not make the Dec. 31 deadline, Metra and TEXRail, have since upped their efforts and are now off the at risk list. In an effort to speed up implementation, NJT canceled a number of trains this week so that crews would have more time to work on PTC. Between Montana and Wednesday, a total of 63 trains were canceled on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley Lines, according to NJ.com.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Amtrak announced that it had fully installed PTC on all of its locomotives and trackage. The final piece of the project was installing one-mile of slow-speed track in the Chicago terminal.
“Completing PTC installation and implementation is a key component of Amtrak’s overarching commitment to the safety performance of intercity passenger rail for our customers, employees and the communities we serve,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President Chief Safety Officer Steve Predmore. “As leaders in PTC installation, Amtrak is pleased to achieve this milestone, and we will continue to work together with all of our partners to improve safety across the rail network.”