Amtrak on course to meet PTC deadline

Amtrak has said it expects to meet a deadline set by the US government to install Positive Train Control (PTC) on all passenger railways by 2015.

Announcing its 2014 capital investment programme, Amtrak said it would continue its “aggressive” installation of PTC systems, with another 1,200 miles of track to benefit from the new traffic management system by the end of the year.

In 2008, the Rail Safety Improvement Act made it mandatory for all passenger railways to have some kind of PTC system in place by the end of 2015.

PTC uses GPS systems to monitor a train’s position on the network. By doing so it can automatically intervene to avoid collisions with other trains, slow vehicles travelling at excessive speeds and stop trains from entering closed sections of track or travelling through a switch which is in the wrong position.

Amtrak, chief executive Joe Boardman, said: “With limited federal capital funding we are doing the work that needs to be done to keep the railroad operating and taking action where we can to achieve safety, operational and passenger travel improvements.

“However, to truly realise the mobility and economic benefits offered by passenger rail, there must be dedicated federal funding to support a multi-year planning and construction program.”

Amtrak will also continue to upgrade the Northeast Corridor in 2014, completing a 23-mile section between Trenton and New Brunswick.