FRA Approves Extended PTC Deadline for MBTA

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has received approval from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the authority’s alternative schedule and sequence for implementation of its Positive Train Control (PTC) Program. The approval extends the deadline for full PTC system deployment to December 2020. Work to install PTC infrastructure on the MBTA Commuter Rail network is currently in various stages of completion and testing on each line. 

“Positive Train Control is without question the most significant investment we are making to upgrade the safety of our commuter rail system,” stated Steve Poftak, MBTA general manager. “Thanks to our partners at the FRA, the alternative schedule is a major milestone that will ensure we can continue building on the progress we’ve made to implement PTC.”  

The MBTA completed major work to receive the extended deadline, including the installation of all wayside equipment and onboard equipment on the commuter rail fleet’s locomotives and control cars. Field Qualification Testing on the Stoughton Pilot Line, PTC training of Keolis personnel, and implementation of the PTC Configuration Management System were also completed. 

The FRA also approved the “Extended RSD” on December 27, 2018, which allows South Side Commuter Rail lines to be placed in Extended RSD. The Stoughton Line began Extended RSD on December 27, and the Fairmount Line began Extended RSD on December 29. Being in Revenue Service Demonstration means that PTC is fully deployed on those lines. 

An RSD Application for the North Side Commuter Rail lines starting with the Lowell Line will be submitted to the FRA in January 2019 with an anticipated FRA approval in February.