Representatives from major U.S. freight railroads will inform the National Transportation Safety Board today that implementing fully interoperable positive train control across more than 60,000 route miles before the congressionally mandated 2015 deadline is not possible.
Congress mandated PTC in 2008. Since then, freight railroads have spent more than $2.7 billion on implementation, including the design, development and testing of new communications technology, onboard computers, radios and back-office train dispatching software that allows each railroad’s PTC system to work together.
Through the end of 2012, railroads have partially equipped 6,072 locomotives with PTC onboard equipment out of a total 18,100 locomotives involved in full implementation; equipped 8,504 wayside locations with PTC wayside interface units out of 37,512 needed; and acquired 2,775 220MHz base, wayside and locomotive radios out of the 56,035 needed.
Freight railroads are also continuing the process of mapping more than 475,000 critical features of the rail system into a computerized track database and much remains to be completed.
“Doing what is right and safe must steer this process, not a subjective deadline,” said Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, in a written statement.