Expertise: Voyaging Through Excellence

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Positive Train Control

Train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, intrusions outside established work zone limitations, and train movements through switches in the wrong position are all reliably and effectively prevented by PTC systems, which use communication-based and processor-based train control technologies.

The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 was passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2008, requiring PTC systems to be fully implemented on Class I railroads’ main lines that transport poisonous or toxic-by-inhalation hazardous materials, as well as any main lines with regularly scheduled intercity or commuter rail passenger service, by December 31, 2015. Congress extended the deadline for full implementation by at least three years, to December 31, 2018, and mandated that the FRA approve any railroad’s request for a “alternative schedule and sequence” with a final deadline no later than December 31, 2020, if the railroad demonstrated compliance with certain statutory criteria by December 31, 2018. Train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, intrusions outside established work zone limitations, and train movements through switches in the wrong position are all reliably and effectively prevented by PTC systems, which use communication-based and processor-based train control technologies. Until all railroads subject to the mandate fully implement FRA-certified and interoperable PTC systems by the statutory deadline, the FRA will continue to provide comprehensive oversight, provide technical assistance to all applicable host and tenant railroads, and collaborate with other stakeholders, including railroad associations and PTC system vendors and suppliers.