FRA report finds PTC progress continues to be steady

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The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) provided its quarterly status update on railroads’ progress in fully implementing positive train control (PTC) systems. Based on railroads’ Second Quarter 2019 PTC Progress Reports, the 42 railroads subject to the statutory PTC mandate are making steady progress.

“FRA is determined to help all affected railroads successfully satisfy the statutory deadline for full PTC system installation, testing, certification, and ultimately, initiate operations governed by PTC on all required territories,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “FRA is currently directing its focus and resources on the technical challenges facing the railroads, including commencing revenue service demonstration, interoperability testing, and safety plans.” 

As of June 30, PTC systems were in operation on approximately 50,300 (87%) of the nearly 58,000 route miles required to be equipped by Congress, reflecting a 4% increase since Quarter 1 of 2019. However, railroads must still complete significant work to fully implement their PTC systems by Dec. 31, 2020, especially with respect to activating PTC systems on the remaining required main lines and achieving the necessary interoperability with their tenant railroads.

Specifically, host commuter railroads report that as of June 2019, they were operating their PTC systems in revenue service demonstration (RSD), a type of required advanced field testing, on approximately 698 route miles and in revenue service on 443 route miles, which, in total, is 37% of the host commuter railroads’ 3,111 required route miles and a 12% increase since Quarter 1 of 2019.

Class I freight railroads report that PTC systems are in operation on approximately 91% of their required main lines as of June 2019 — representing a 4% increase since Quarter 1. As a host railroad, Amtrak reports that approximately 899 of Amtrak’s 901 (99.8%) required route miles are governed by a PTC system. In addition, Amtrak informed FRA that its operations are currently governed by a PTC system on at least 16,032 of the 19,119 route miles (84%) where Amtrak operates as a tenant railroad on other railroads’ PTC-equipped main lines.

To view the public version of each railroad’s Quarterly PTC Progress Report for Quarter 2 of 2019, click here.