Metrolink begins PTC revenue service demonstration

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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LACMTA/Steve Hymon

Metrolink has begun a Positive Train Control (PTC) revenue service demonstration (RSD) under the authority of BNSF in California. Metrolink operated PTC RSD on Orange County Line train 686 February 20, however, the first revenue service train to offer the technology was 91 Line train 700 February 17.


The FRA has authorized Metrolink to operate PTC RSD on BNSF territory using Wabtec’s Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS)®. Metrolink’s PTC service on BNSF track will be implemented on select trains on the Metrolink 91 Line (between Riverside-Downtown and just east of LA Union Station), Orange County Line (between Fullerton and just east of LA Union Station) and Inland Empire-Orange County Line (between San Bernardino and just east of Anaheim Canyon). PTC capability on Metrolink territory is expected to be available later this year, while the entire service area is anticipated to be complete before the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) mandate of December 2015.

“I have spent my entire life around the rail, but this is unequivocally the most instrumental piece of technology ever implemented for train safety,” said Metrolink Board Chair Pat Morris. “PTC will undoubtedly make Metrolink the safest commuter rail system in the country; the invaluable partnership between Metrolink and BNSF has made today a reality.”

The estimated cost for developing, installing and deploying PTC on the Metrolink system including the expansion of the communication network to support the PTC system is $216.3 million. Metrolink secured full funding from local, state and federal sources with the funding split at 50 percent, 42 percent, nine percent, respectively. Nearly 30 grants were secured.

Metrolink’s PTC program calls for installing a back-office system, replacing the current computer-aided dispatch 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 a new 24,000-square foot security-enhanced building to house the command and control equipment and personnel to dispatch the railroad at all times.

Categories: C&S, Class 1, Commuter/Regional