FRA Releases PTC Status Update

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently released a quarterly status update on railroads’ self-reported progress toward full implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems (Federal Railroad Administration Publishes Railroads’ Third Quarter 2019 Positive Train Control Implementation Status Updates). PTC utilizes industry-designed emerging technologies to monitor speed and automatically stop a train to prevent accidents due to human error, leading to increased safety and innovation, two of the top priorities of the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Since 2008, the DOT has promoted PTC through technical support and approximately $2.5 billion in funding for freight, intercity, and commuter railroads. “We remain steadfast in compelling and assisting railroads to successfully complete all steps necessary for full PTC implementation,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said. The magnitude of this undertaking is immense, but putting PTC systems into operation demands diligence and a continued sense of urgency.”

All railroads subject to the statutory requirement have committed to implementing PTC systems on their required main lines by December 31, 2020According to the railroads’ Third Quarter 2019 (Q3) PTC Progress Reports to FRA, the majority of the 42 affected railroads are currently operating PTC systems either in revenue service or in advanced field testing, known as revenue service demonstration (RSD).

As of September 30, 2019, four host railroads and three tenant-only commuter railroads are operating under full PTC implementation. Overall, PTC systems are controlling operations on 92.4% of all requisite route miles. 

With slightly over a year remaining until the Congressional deadline, the DOT and FRA continue to monitor the progress of all railroads and provide technical support to those railroads not yet in RSD. To see the details of railroads’ progress toward full PTC implementation, please visit

Although it is disappointing that federal intervention is required to force the railroads to prioritize safety over profits, it is good to see the DOT and FRA doing their part to promote passenger safety through technological innovation. If you have been injured in a railroad accident, it is critical that you hire an experienced attorney. Please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

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