The United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently hosted the first Positive Train Control (PTC) symposium in Washington, D.C. (FRA Hosts Railroad Symposium on PTC’s Statutory Requirements). The symposium featured FRA’s PTC experts and all of the railroads required to implement PTC systems by the December 31, 2018, statutory deadline.
“The PTC Symposium is the latest effort from FRA to ensure that each and every railroad is aware of their obligations and is equipped to meet the Congressionally mandated deadline,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. Additional PTC symposiums will be held on July 16, 2018, and August 20, 2018, to discuss best practices for achieving full PTC system implementation.
The Congressional mandate requires that PTC systems be designed to prevent:
- train-to-train collisions
- over-speed derailments
- movement of trains through a switch in the wrong position
- train incursions into established work zones
Serious train incidents involving these preventable scenarios will continue to occur until PTC is utilized all across the country. “Once fully implemented, PTC will save lives, protect property, and make our nation’s rail network considerably safer,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.
The FRA has provided railroads access to the funds needed to complete the implementation of PTC systems:
- Awarded over $197 million in grants to commuter railroads and state and local governments in 2017 for the installation of PTC systems
- Announced the $73 million Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for rail capital projects funded through the 2017 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program
- Announced the $250 million NOFO for PTC system implementation funded through the 2018 CRISI Program
Although it is unfortunate that U.S. taxpayers have to subsidize the railroad industry’s safety efforts, the FRA should be applauded for doing its part to ensure the safety of America’s railroads. If you have been injured in a railroad accident, it is vital that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.