October 2, 2014

U.S. Rep. Maloney proposes PTC funding bill

U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) has proposed the Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act to help commuter railroads, such as MTA Metro-North Railroad, fund and implement positive train control (PTC) systems. Maloney announced he would introduce the legislation earlier this week after touring the site of Metro-North’s deadly derailment in the Bronx, N.Y. On Tuesday, [...]

Antennae on tribal lands further delays PTC

Two years probably wasn’t going to be enough time for railroads to install crash-avoidance technology on 23,000 locomotives and 60,000 miles of tracks, in the biggest rail-safety project in U.S. history. Then they encountered the Choctaw Nation, Muscogee and Navajo. In May, the railroads and their regulators learned 565 American Indian tribes had the right [...]

Railroads seek extension for installing PTC

WASHINGTON – Spurred by a deadly train crash in Los Angeles, Congress in 2008 passed with great fanfare legislation requiring the nation’s railroads to install a sophisticated collision-avoidance system by the end of 2015. Five years later, an industry move to extend the deadline to 2020 is picking up steam on Capitol Hill. Read the [...]

GAO issues PTC report, urges flexibility

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) made public its report on positive train control (PTC) implementation and issued a trio of recommendations including extending the deadline, approving alternative safety technologies and granting provisional certification of PTC systems. The report said three out of four freight railroads included in its review will not meet the Dec. [...]

Train safety move delayed decades

WASHINGTON – It was an accident investigators say didn’t have to happen: Five years ago a commuter train collided head-on with a freight train near Los Angeles, killing 25 and injuring more than 100. Technology is available to prevent the most catastrophic collisions, but the railroad industry and its allies in Congress are trying to [...]

Canada eyes PTC following disaster

After the recent disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is looking at possibly implementing positive train control (PTC) systems on its railroads. In 2010 and 2012, two major train derailments have been linked to trainmen not following signal indications. The incident in 2010 at Saint-Charles-de-Bellechase, Quebec, only caused injuries and [...]

PTC extension introduced by committee

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation introduced a positive train control (PTC) extension bill. The bill seeks to extend the statutory deadline for PTC implementation by five years to Dec. 31, 2020, as well as provide another optional two-year extension on 60,000 miles of track across the country. Shortline railroads that operate [...]

How to prevent America’s next train crash

The evening of Jan. 5, 2005, was dry and cool in Graniteville, S.C. At 6:10, a 12-car Norfolk Southern freight train pulled up to the Avondale Mills textile plant, and Jim Thornton, a conductor with 18 years’ experience, climbed down from the locomotive to open a switch and let the train roll onto a siding. [...]

New surface transport law a mixed bag

capitol

It’s not all we wanted, but, maybe more important, it’s not as bad as it could have been. Given the polarization of this Congress, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century – MAP-21 – is as good a new transportation authorization bill as we could have hoped for. Passed by bipartisan majorities in [...]

FRA allows reduction in PTC mileage

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration has granted railroads greater flexibility to determine on which lines positive train control (PTC) must be installed by the federal deadline of Dec. 31, 2015. PTC initially was mandated for 70,000 track miles, but 10,000 of those miles are expected to be removed from PTC installation under the new [...]