UP PTC Implementation Moving Forward

Union Pacific (UP) has announced several milestones in its implementation of positive train control (PTC) in 2016.

UP implemented the following upgrades last year:

  • PTC-ready track segments have reached 26 percent, with the 59 track segments, or subdivisions, equipped with wayside devices (signals, switches and radios) and defined GPS coordinates. The PTC-ready segments cover a section of UP's Western Region, from Southern California to Portland; from Portland to Pocatello, Idaho; and from Roseville, Calif., through Reno to Elko, Nev.
  • UP’s training efforts continue with 18 percent, or more than 7,000 employees, educated on PTC operations. These employees include engineers, conductors, dispatchers, maintenance of way/engineering, mechanical, signal, telecom and information technologies.
  • UP has equipped 64 percent of required locomotives and 85 percent of required radio towers with PTC technology. Also, 12 percent of the railroad's required route miles are in PTC operation and UP is acquiring the necessary spectrum to support PTC operations. The company’s PTC Safety Plan has been submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

UP’s PTC system involves integrating signal and telecom elements; GPS; wayside, base station and locomotive radios; and antennas and satellites. These all predict whether the train crew should be alerted to take action or if the technology should take control to slow or stop the train.

Through Dec. 31, 2016, UP has invested $2.3 billion in PTC, and the company’s current estimate for PTC's total cost is approximately $2.9 billion. UP has installed 93 percent, or 16,008 miles, of total route miles with PTC signal hardware and has partially installed PTC hardware on 93 percent of its 5,656 locomotives earmarked for the technology. It has also equipped 2,441 locomotives with PTC hardware and software for revenue service demonstration and has installed 93 percent of the wayside antennas needed to support PTC along the company's right of way.