U.S. railroads make uneven progress on positive train control implementation

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration released third quarter 2016 data submitted by railroads on their progress in implementing Positive Train Control (PTC). The data show uneven progress across the country and across railroads toward activating the life-saving technology.

PTC is meant to prevent certain train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits and trains going to the wrong tracks because a switch was left in the wrong position.

Freight railroads now have PTC active on 12 percent of their tracks, up from 9 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads increased their percentage to 23 percent this quarter compared to 22 percent last quarter. The measurable progress made by passenger railroads has been predominately on the West Coast, while East Coast railroads, other than SEPTA and Amtrak, have remained relatively stagnant.

“Passenger and freight railroads must continue their progress implementing Positive Train Control and work to beat the deadlines Congress set – because PTC saves lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

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