Foundations of Rail Safety with Steve Ditmeyer – Part 1, PTC: RAIL GROUP ON AIR

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-In-Chief, Railway Age
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In Part 1 of this two-part series on railroad safety and technology, Steven R. Ditmeyer discusses the fundamentals of signaling and train control and takes a deep dive into PTC (Positive Train Control) and its potential for evolving beyond a safety overlay system with Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono.

Ditmeyer has had an extensive career in railroading that started in 1960 on the St. Louis Terminal Railroad. He received a B.S. in Industrial Management from MIT and an M.A. in Economics from Yale. In the private sector, he worked for six railroads and a railroad equipment manufacturer. In the public sector, he served as an Army Transportation Corps officer on active duty in the Logistics Directorate of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in the Reserves in the 3rd Railway Brigade, as Associate Administrator for Policy and for R&D at the Federal Railroad Administration, as acting general manager of The Alaska Railroad, as associate professor of economics and transportation at National Defense University, and as economist and rail technology expert at the World Bank. His career has cut across multiple disciplines, including freight and passenger railroading, engineering, economics, research and development, policy, marketing, management, operations, information technology, systems analysis, command and control systems and education.

In his early days at FRA, Ditmeyer was involved in the creation of Amtrak, the preliminary engineering and economic studies for the Northeast Corridor Project, and the establishment of the Transportation Technology Center. As head of policy at FRA, he initiated the sale of The Alaska Railroad by the Federal Government to the State of Alaska and was involved in developing the legislation for the deregulation of the freight railroad industry. At Burlington Northern Railroad, he was intimately involved in development and testing of the first PTC system (ARES) and the development and testing of the first natural gas locomotives. Following retirement, he helped structure and teach in railway management programs as an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State University and the University of Delaware, and HEC and EML Business Schools, both in France.

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