ASLRRA, Rockwell Collins partner on PTC

Written by William Vantuono, editor-in-chief, Railway Age
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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected Rockwell Collins to assist tenant short lines in creating safety-related documentation required to obtain permission to operate over a host railroad’s Positive Train Control (PTC)-equipped territory.

ASLRRA said this is “the next step in our plan to provide a suite of services for short line railroads equipping for PTC.”

Rockwell Collins will develop template documents based on PTC host railroad requirements as well as applicable regulations and provide webinar training for short line railroads on the use of these templates to develop required tenant safety documentation.

“While this effort does not replace direct communication between tenant and host railroads, it is expected to expedite completion of PTC implementations for host and tenant railroads by assisting short line railroads in satisfying their host’s safety documentation requirements,” ASLRRA said.

Submission of a qualified Positive Train Control Safety Plan (PTCSP) is required of host railroads by 49 CFR Part 236, Subpart I – Positive Train Control Systems to obtain PTC system certification. In turn, host railroads are requiring tenant railroads to submit certain safety documentation to them. Without providing sufficient evidence of safety through their submission, a tenant railroad may be barred from operating over a host’s PTC territory, ASLRRA noted.

Specifically, Rockwell Collins will assist short line railroads by providing the following:

  • A streamlined mechanism to communicate typical PTC host railroad requirements to short lines.
  • A framework for short lines to interpret specific requirements from their PTC host railroad(s).
  • Guidance to short lines required to operate under PTC on host PTC territory to enable efficient development of tenant safety documentation to submit to host railroads.
  • The option to contract with Rockwell Collins to tailor the documents for a short line railroad based on specific host railroad requirements and PTC implementations.

In addition to the development of individualized safety documentation, a railroad may contract for services offered by Rockwell Collins, including providing guidance and support on an as-requested basis and developing customized PTC plans tailored to a specific railroad, such as PTC training plans and PTC security plans.

“PTC implementation is one of the most complex and challenging projects to be mandated for the U.S. rail system, particularly for our short line members, which often do not have the technical staff and expertise, but have a complicated role to play, integrating with multiple Class I systems,” said ASLRRA Chair Judy Petry, President and General Manager of Farmrail System, Inc. “ASLRRA has stepped up to assist our member short lines in preparing for implementation with a variety of previously announced services. Rockwell Collins is the industry leader in safety plan and related documentation, and the templates and outlines they develop specifically for short lines will save our members time, and thousands of dollars in development costs for required safety-related documentation.”

“For the short lines railroads, the PTC implementation can be daunting,” said Robert Sapitowicz, Director, Strategy and Business Development for Rockwell Collins. “Using the products that we are developing for PTCSP, in concert with the other PTC support programs ASLRRA has offered to its members, these railroads will be ready to meet the PTC mandate efficiently, cost-effectively and securely.”

Previously, ASLRRA has announced agreements to provide excess liability insurance, grant writing expertise and PTC back office functionality to its short line member railroads.

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