May 20, 2020

MTA Affirms Positive Train Control Completion Projected by End of Year

 

Timetable to Meet Federal Deadline Remains Intact Despite Coronavirus Pandemic

More Than Three Quarters of MTA Railroads’ Route Mileage Already Operating in Positive Train Control
 
The presidents of MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad today announced that Positive Train Control (PTC) has been activated on the majority of their tracks, and both railroads remain on pace to complete systemwide activation of PTC by the end of 2020 as required under a Federal legislation.
 
“Despite supply chain and other impacts from the pandemic, we remain on schedule to have full PTC functionality across the railroad by the end of this year,” said Catherine Rinaldi, President of MTA Metro-North Railroad. “Field work and testing continues. With the Harlem Line, Hudson Line, and inner New Haven Line now operating in PTC, the focus now on the remaining section between Stamford to New Haven.”
 
“I’m proud to say that we have found ways to continue delivering on this vital project despite the pandemic,” said Phil Eng, President of the Long Island Rail Road. “We continue to make adjustments during the pandemic but remain on schedule to meet our commitment to have all segments of the railroad operating in PTC by the December deadline.”
 
Staff who are working to activate Positive Train Control have had to reorder the sequences of tasks to make the work more efficient with supply chains disrupted by the pandemic, and have had to ensure adequate social distancing of staff who are performing testing of train cars. But that testing is nevertheless continuing seven days a week.
 
Metro-North today reported to the MTA Board that 202 miles, or 82%, of its routes are now operating in PTC: The complete Harlem Line, the complete Hudson Line, the New Haven Line from Grand Central Terminal to Greenwich, Conn., and the New Haven Line’s Danbury and New Canaan Branches. The Long Island Rail Road today reported that 223 miles, or 73%, of its routes are now operating in PTC, including the Babylon, Central, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, and West Hemstead Branches, and the section of the Ronkonkoma Branch from Ronkonkoma to Greenport.
 
All of the segments that have been activated with PTC have it enabled full interoperability with all other railroads who share the tracks, including Amtrak and freight railroads. 
 
A report issued May 15 from the Federal Railroad Administration (available at this link) reports that “nearly all railroads subject to the statutory mandate are operating their systems in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD), with PTC technology remaining to be activated on only approximately 1,100 required route miles.” This includes the LIRR and Metro-North.
 
Positive Train Control enhances train safety behind the scenes by eliminating the potential for human error to contribute to train-to-train collisions, trains traveling into zones where railroad employees are working on tracks, or derailments caused by a train traveling too fast into a curve or into a misaligned switch.
 
The system uses a network of computers on board trains and along the tracks that are in communication with a central control hub, sharing data on rail conditions in real time. More information about how Positive Train Control works on the MTA network can be found at the three-minute video at this link: youtube.com/watch?v=bIX9wWlY_wg
 

 

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