Traffic lull allows for more PTC work

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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COVID-19 was expected to delay PTC installation work, but that has proven not to be the case.

The reduced traffic on railroad and transit lines resulting from COVID-19 has allowed roads, particularly transit operations, to catch up on their installation and testing of positive train control (PTC) according to a report from Politico.

While railroads and transit agencies have been hit hard by the pandemic, with ridership on many transit agencies down between 90 percent and 99 percent, the significant number of canceled trains have opened up one thing that railroad maintenance-of-way departments cherish – open windows for work time. During normal times, it’s often challenging for work crews to find windows, especially during the day, when they can occupy the track for maintenance or PTC installation. The flow of normal traffic is usually too heavy for the work crews to get frequent or long windows. Therefore, much of the work must be done at night, or during rare times of the day when traffic is reduced. If the maintenance work is urgent, though, railroads will simply re-route traffic around the area being worked. The current situation simply allows crews to spend more time on the track and complete the testing of PTC more quickly.

When policymakers realized that the pandemic was going to seriously affect the United States, there was concern that it would slow the installation of PTC, according to the Politico report. However, that has proven not to be the case.

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Categories: Class 1, Commuter/Regional, Freight, ON Track Maintenance, Passenger, Railroad News, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training, Track Maintenance
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