PTC: 223 Route Miles Outstanding | NJ Transit Falling Behind

The Federal Railroad Administration (United States) has published its Railroads’ Third Quarter 2020 Positive Train Control Implementation Status Updates, finding that PTC technology still has to be activated on 223 route miles.

The total route miles on which positive train control has already been implemented is 57,314, while the route miles to which the PTC mandate applies is 57,537. This means implementation is at 99.6 percent – a 0.8 percentage point increase on the last quarter (Q2). Positive train control technology was activated on a total of 468 route miles during the third quarter.

Ronald L. Batory, FRA Administrator, said:

“Full implementation of PTC is in sight, owing to everyone’s unparalleled cooperation and determination,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “I’m incredibly proud of the intensive collaborations we have forged. Once complete, railroads, rail workers, and rail passengers will all benefit from this transformational accomplishment in railroad safety.”

  • All 7 Class 1 railroads and other freight host railroads have fitted PTC systems on their PTC-mandated main lines
  • 92.3 percent of commuter railroads’ mandated route miles are now governed by PTC technology, an increase of 16.2 percentage points since the last quarter
  • PTC technology is now in operation on all PTC-mandated main lines that are owned or controlled by Amtrak, a 0.03 percentage point increase since the last update

PTC Interoperability

In addition to installing PTC technology, railroads must complete interoperability testing and meet the interoperability requirements.

In this update, host railroads have reported that interoperability has been achieved by 84 percent of the 219 applicable host-tenant railroad relationships. This is an 18.6 percentage point increase since the second quarter of 2020.

NT Transit commuter train on the Erie Main Line
NT Transit commuter train on the Erie Main Line

New Jersey Transit at Risk of Missing PTC Deadline

The Federal Railroad Administration said that the only railroad at risk of not fully implementing PTC technology on all the required mainlines by the deadline – 31 December 2020 – was New Jersey Transit.

New Jersey Transit said that as of 30 September it was operating a PTC system in revenue service demonstration (advanced field testing prior to revenue service) on 48 percent of its 375.9 PTC-mandated route miles – meaning on 180.4 route miles, but not on 195.5 route miles. Consequently, New Jersey Transit is responsible for all but 42.6 route miles that are not yet at least in revenue service demonstration.

In response, the FRA is continuing to assist NJT with resources and technical guidance, such as on-site support. The FRA’s leadership and PTC experts meet with New Jersey Transit several times a month to give advice so that NJT can meet the statutory deadline.

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