Positive Train Control – Improved Safety for Commuter Rail

In The Know
April 17, 2012 / By / Post a Comment

After a very tragic commuter rail accident in Southern California (ultimately linked to a train engineer texting and missing a signal), legislation was introduced at the federal level to require the implementation of positive train control on freight and commuter railroads.  While there has been much debate over the high cost of this unfunded federal mandate, it is a challenge we will need to overcome.  These challenges include funding and meeting the deadline with many pending technical issues still unresolved.  From a user perspective, this is a system we need to continue future operations, and the funding requirements will limit our options to expand service into the future. 

Postive Train Control (PTC) is an integrated, GPS based system system that slows and will utlimately stop a train that violates a speed restriction, enters a closed track section,  or faces an impending train to train collision.  This incorporates equipment on the trains, at each piece of wayside equipment, in the back office, and in the radio communication system. 

DCTA is taking a very aggressive approach to achieving success.  We are nearing completion of the initial engineering, and we are pursuing partnerships with DART and the Fort Worth T to leverage our investments now and in the future.  We are working with regulators, funding partners, and our engineers to get access to the necessary radio channels and technical details to move forward with the implementation in a responsible way.  

We are fortunate at DCTA to have very loyal and supportive riders.  PTC is a challenge, but not one that we cannot overcome.  As we go forward,  you will more about this topic.  We will always place safety and the needs of our riders at the top of DCTA’s list.

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