The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that positive train control (PTC) technology is in operation on all 57,536 required freight and passenger railroad route miles, prior to the statutory deadline of December 31, 2020, set by Congress. In addition, as required, FRA has certified that each host railroad’s PTC system complies with the technical requirements for PTC systems. Furthermore, railroads have reported that interoperability has been achieved between each applicable host and tenant railroad that operates on PTC-governed main lines. PTC systems are designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zones, and movements of trains through switches left in the wrong position.
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA) mandated the implementation of PTC systems on Class I railroads’ main lines over which five million or more gross tons of annual traffic and certain hazardous materials are transported, and on any main lines over which intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation is regularly provided. RSIA and FRA’s implementing regulations also require PTC systems to be interoperable, meaning that the locomotives of host and tenant railroads operating on the same main line must communicate with and respond to the PTC system, including during uninterrupted movements over property boundaries.