MBTA sends PTC extension application to FRA

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
MBTA
MBTA Red Line is now running one train every four to five minutes during rush hour.
MBTA

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has submitted a Request for Extension to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for full Positive Train Control (PTC) system deployment to December 2020.

According to an update provided to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, all work has been completed and all requirements have been satisfied to qualify for the alternative schedule.

MBTA said PTC is its highest-priority capital program item and work to install PTC infrastructure on the MBTA Commuter Rail network is in various stages of completion on each line.

“As the highest priority capital project for the MBTA, Positive Train Control represents one of the most significant safety upgrades for our rail system in recent memory,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “I want to thank our partners at the FRA for their collaborative efforts as we continued to make progress in PTC deployment and I also want to acknowledge our project management team and vendors as we worked to turn this project around and get it back on track.”

MBTA said its PTC team submitted a Revenue Service Demonstration (RSD) Application to FRA on Sept. 18 and an application for an alternative schedule on Sept. 21.

Next steps for the project include placing the Stoughton Line in RSD upon approval from the FRA, which is expected in late November 2018. Lowell Line testing will be completed soon with an RSD application submitted by late December 2018. The completion of testing and RSD applications of the remaining lines will follow with testing of the Fairmount Line beginning in October 2018 and commissioning of the remaining lines by late August 2020. Vehicle fleet software upgrades are planned for October and November of this year as well. Interoperability Testing will be coordinated with Amtrak, CSX and Pan Am Railways with PTC implemented on the Worcester, Needham and Franklin Lines by 2020. MBTA, together with its contractors, said it continues to make strides in executing the PTC Program for an anticipated deployment across the entire MBTA Commuter Rail system by late August 2020.

MBTA was the recipient of a$20 million grant the FRA awarded in August to be applied toward PTC implementation. MBTA was also awarded a $7.82 million grant in 2017 and was approved for $382 million in federal loans to fund the safety technology.

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