Fed­eral Rail Study Cites ACE At-Risk

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U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s (DOT) Fed­eral Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FRA) on Fri­day re­leased the 2018 Quar­ter 2 sta­tus up­date on rail­roads’ self-re­ported progress to­ward im­ple­ment­ing pos­i­tive train con­trol (PTC) sys­tems.

The lat­est data, cur­rent as of June 30, 2018, shows that 15 rail­roads have in­stalled 100 per­cent of the PTC sys­tem hard­ware that must be in­stalled for im­ple­men­ta­tion, based on a re­view of the rail­roads’ PTC Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plans and quar­terly progress re­ports for Quar­ter 2 of 2018. Twelve other rail­roads have in­stalled be­tween 95 and 99 per­cent of the PTC sys­tem hard­ware iden­ti­fied in their PTC Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plans. All rail­roads, ex­cept for one, that use spec­trum-based PTC sys­tems have ac­quired suf­fi­cient spec­trum.

This marks a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment from De­cem­ber 2016, where freight rail­roads had PTC ac­tive on just 16 per­cent of re­quired tracks, while pas­sen­ger rail­roads were at 24 per­cent.

In ad­di­tion, 14 rail­roads have ini­ti­ated suf­fi­cient rev­enue ser­vice demon­stra­tion (RSD) or met sub­sti­tute cri­te­ria, which is also one of the six statu­tory cri­te­ria needed to qual­ify for an

al­ter­na­tive sched­ule. PTC sys­tems are in RSD or op­er­a­tion on ap­prox­i­mately 37,705 route miles (65 per­cent) of the nearly 58,000 route miles that are sub­ject to the statu­tory man­date.

“The rail­roads have achieved some sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments over the past year im­ple­ment­ing this safety tech­nol­ogy,” said FRA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Ron­ald L. Ba­tory. “While we are see­ing progress among a ma­jor­ity of rail­roads, we want to see ev­ery­one meet their re­quire­ments.” Quar­ter 2 data shows a 25 per­cent drop in the num­ber of “at-risk” rail­roads from 12 to nine.

FRA cur­rently con­sid­ers any rail­road that in­stalled less than 90 per­cent of its PTC sys­tem hard­ware as of June 30, 2018, to be at risk, as in­stal­la­tion of all PTC sys­tem hard­ware is only an ini­tial phase of im­ple­ment­ing a PTC sys­tem and only one of the six statu­tory cri­te­ria re­quired to qual­ify for an al­ter­na­tive sched­ule.

The nine at-risk rail­roads are: New Mex­ico Rail Run­ner Ex­press (Rio Metro), Cap­i­tal Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity, New Jer­sey Tran­sit, Al­ta­mont Cor­ri­dor Ex­press, Mary­land Area Re­gional Com­muter, Trin­ity Rail­way Ex­press, South Florida Re­gional Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity, Penin­sula Cor­ri­dor Joint Pow­ers Board (Cal­train) and Cen­tral Florida Rail Cor­ri­dor (SunRail). The nine at-risk rail­roads own or con­trol ap­prox­i­mately 665 route miles that are sub­ject to the statu­tory man­date, which is ap­prox­i­mately 1.1 per­cent of the route miles that must be gov­erned by a PTC sys­tem and 0.475 per­cent of the U.S. rail net­work.

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