US intercity train operator Amtrak has announced plans to equip approximately 310 locomotives to operate using Positive Train Control (PTC) technology and comply with that federal requirement by Dec. 31, 2018. The process of installation of PTC across the US rail network has been a difficult one, with the initial deadline of December 2015 being missed by most operators. Mandated as a response to the collision of a Metrolink passenger train and a Union Pacific freight train September 12, 2008, in California, which resulted in the deaths of 25 and injuries to more than 135 passengers, PTC can manage train movements to prevent train-to-train collisions, excessive speed and certain other human-caused incidents such as misaligned track switches.
This equipment will be installed on Amtrak-owned diesel locomotives that primarily operate on national Amtrak network and state-sponsored routes in the east and mid-west. When used in conjunction with a railroad’s PTC infrastructure, these systems can increase in safety and reliability.
“PTC is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to enhance rail transportation safety by automatically stopping a train before certain types of incidents occur,” said George Hartman, Senior Manager of Positive Train Control at Amtrak. “We are dedicated to ensuring our locomotives are enabled with this important safety technology.”
Amtrak is a leader in the deployment and use of positive train control. In December 2015, Amtrak activated PTC on our busiest route, between New York and Washington, D.C., completing installation on most Amtrak-owned infrastructure on the Northeast Corridor. PTC has been installed between Boston and New Haven since 2000 and since 2002 along the 97 miles of track we own in Michigan and Indiana. In early 2016, Amtrak activated PTC on our 104-mile Harrisburg Line. Installation and maintenance of PTC is the responsibility of the railroad that controls the track.
Amtrak has signed an agreement with Rockwell Collins to implement the company’s ARINC RailwayNet℠ service, a hosted network, messaging and application platform, designed to meet the PTC requirements mandated by the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, as amended.
|Amtrak has signed an agreement with Rockwell Collins to implement the company’s ARINC RailwayNet℠ service on approximately 310 Amtrak locomotives operating across the United States (Pic: Courtesty of Rockwell Collins)|
“This scope and significance of this agreement is unprecedented – it represents the most extensive support of tenant operations for PTC to date,” Ken Schreder, vice president, Strategic Programs and Surface Transportation Systems for Rockwell Collins .
“Railroads face the critical challenge of meeting congressionally-mandated PTC requirements while also keeping their operations up and running smoothly. Our ARINC RailwayNet service will allow us to provide Amtrak with a mandate-compliant, secure and tailored PTC network solution for its operations.”
This service will allow the Amtrak fleet to interface with the PTC systems of other railroads when using their tracks for our trains. Under the agreement, Rockwell Collins ( @RockwellCollins ) will initialize the Amtrak ( @Amtrak ) fleet to run on 19 different railroads, including commuter and freight routes that host Amtrak services.
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