FRA: We’ve got PTC funds available. Act now!

Written by William Vantuono, editor-in-chief, Railway Age
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“It’s time to modernize existing regulations to permit methods of inspecting, testing and maintaining track and mechanical equipment that are demonstrably safe”– FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory.

The Federal Railroad Administration on May 15 issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for $250 million in Positive Train Control (PTC) Systems Grants.  


The purpose of the NOFO is to solicit applications for $250 million in PTC Systems Grants to fund the deployment of PTC system technology for intercity passenger rail transportation, freight rail transportation and/or commuter rail passenger transportation. Eligible projects include back office systems; wayside, communications and onboard hardware equipment; software; equipment installation; spectrum; any component, testing and training for the implementation of PTC systems; and interoperability.

Applications for PTC systems deployment funding under this solicitation are due no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT, 45 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register. These grants form part of the funding available under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program.

In addition, the FRA released its 2018 Quarter 1 (Q1) status update on railroads’ self-reported progress toward implementing PTC. “These reports were initiated by FRA to maintain transparency throughout the PTC implementation process,” FRA said.

Fourteen railroads report they have installed 100% of the hardware necessary for PTC system implementation, as of March 31, 2018. Railroads’ self-reported data indicates that during Q1 2018, six other railroads—Altamont Corridor Express, Central Florida Rail Corridor (Sunrail), Conrail, Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC), MTA Metro-North Railroad, and South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-rail)—increased their percentage of hardware installation by more than 10%, compared to Q4 2017.

The latest data, current as of March 31, shows PTC systems are in operation on approximately 60% of freight railroads route-miles required to be governed by PTC—up from 56% from Q4 2017 and 16% on Dec. 31, 2016. Passenger railroads have made less progress, with PTC systems in operation on 25% of required route miles, up 1% from the previous quarter.

“The railroads are making progress toward meeting the congressionally mandated PTC requirement, but there is still work to be done,” said FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory. “The FRA will continue to work with railroads and suppliers to assist in fully implementing PTC.”

For more PTC implementation data for Q1 2018, see the infographics here: To view the public version of each railroad’s Quarterly PTC Progress Report (Form FRA F 6180.165, OMB Control No. 2130-0553) for Q1 2018, visit each railroad’s PTC docket on Railroads’ PTC docket numbers are available at

PTC System Grants under the CRISI Program will be published in the Federal Register. To view the NOFO, visit

Categories: C&S, Class 1, Commuter/Regional, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training