Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Metrolink presents fully equipped PTC test train

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman speaks at Metrolink's rail yard in Los Angeles. NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman speaks at Metrolink's rail yard in Los Angeles. NTSB

Southern California's Metrolink unveiled its Positive Train Control test train at an event hosted by Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz and the Metrolink Board on September 10.

Participants included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board Deborah Hersman, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration Karen Hedlund, regulators, labor union representatives, as well as representatives from BNSF and Union Pacific.

If a train is moving in unauthorized areas or going too fast, PTC can override the error that caused the movement and stop the train before an incident occurs. Metrolink, Amtrak, BNSF and Union Pacific have committed to implementing the technology in Southern California in advance of the 2015 federal mandate created by The Rail Safety Act of 2008.

"I commend Metrolink and their freight railroad partners for their leadership in implementing positive train control, technology that can prevent collisions and save lives," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "PTC is an investment in safety and Southern California has shown the rest of the country that where there is a will, there is a way."

Metrolink is nearly 50 percent complete with its PTC implementation. The $210-million program is fully funded (73 percent state, 16 percent federal and 11 percent local funds). Metrolink's PTC program calls for installing a back-office system (BOS), replacing the current computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, installing on-board PTC equipment on 57 cab cars and 52 locomotives, installing systems to stop a train at 476 wayside signals and implementing a six-county specialized communication network to link the wayside signals, trains and centralized dispatch office.

According to a 2009 report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Metrolink's PTC implementation is expected to support more than 4,000 full-time jobs, equating to more than $164 million in revenue.

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