FRA Updates Rail PTC Implementation

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has released an update on the fourth quarter 2016 progress of railroads' implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems. The update shows freight railroads continue to make consistent progress while passenger industry progress in installing and activating the technology only slightly increased.

“We continue to closely monitor railroads’ progress implementing Positive Train Control,” said Patrick Warren, FRA Executive Director. “With less than two years remaining to complete the implementation process, it is imperative that railroads continue to meet implementation milestones.”

The data, current as of December 31, 2016, confirms freight railroads now have PTC active on 16 percent of tracks required to be equipped with PTC systems, up from 12 percent last quarter. Passenger railroads increased PTC equipped lines to 24 percent from 23 percent. Due in large part to Amtrak’s significant progress on PTC, 41 percent of passenger railroads’ locomotives are now fully equipped with PTC technology, compared to 29 percent the previous quarter. Freight railroads’ percentage of locomotives fully equipped with PTC technology was up from 38 percent to 42 percent.

Congress requires Class I railroads and intercity or commuter rail passenger transportation that provide regularly scheduled service to implement PTC systems by December 31, 2018. If key implementation and installation milestones are met, railroads may be eligible to obtain a limited extension to complete certain non-hardware, operational PTC aspects no later than December 31, 2020, subject to the secretary of transportation's approval.


An interactive graphic of freight and passenger railroads’ overall PTC implementation progress is available on the FRA website.