It was a long time coming, but Positive Train Control (PTC) systems finally became mandatory at the end of 2020. The requirement of these systems on the main lines of Class I railroads was included in the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA).
After years of implementation delays, the Federal Railroad Association (FRA) announced that over 57,000 miles of passenger and freight railroad route miles would be covered by PTC systems by the most recent deadline of Dec. 31. These systems provide a significant improvement in railway safety by helping prevent:
- Collisions between trains
- Derailments caused by excessive speed
- Incursions into work zones
- Trains going through switches in the wrong position
The PTC systems are designed to detect operational conflicts and abnormalities along lines and automatically intervene to prevent potentially catastrophic events. The systems alert the appropriate engineers, but they also have the ability to slow and even stop a train if necessary.
3 major lines covered by PTC in Connecticut
Here at home, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced that PTC has been activated on the Shore Line East (SLE), Metro-North and Hartford Lines.
Last month, in announcing the PTC implementation, CTDOT Commissioner Joe Giulietti said that rail service is “now safer than ever, with automatic safeguards in place to prevent incidents that particularly can be associated with human error.” The implementation was also praised by the president of Amtrak, which has trains running throughout Connecticut.
This technology can help protect passengers, railroad employees and anyone who lives and works near any of these tens of thousands of miles of railroad tracks. However, railroad work is still fraught with any number of risks. If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury or illness, find out what your right to compensation under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA).