As part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s $3.3 billion plan to modernize the entire PATH rail system, the Board of Commissioners recently authorized more than $340 million worth of contracts to help replace antiquated mechanical train controls with state-of-the-art, computerized signals.
PATH’s current signal technology is a century old and still uses key equipment put into service between the early 1900's and 1940's. Obtaining parts for the old equipment has been difficult, resulting in an increased number of repairs as well as rising costs and service delays.
The new system, called Automatic Train Control (ATC), uses technology in newly designed transit systems as well as replacement of signals in older systems, like New York City Transit subways and the London Underground. ATC coordinates train movements via a computer-controlled radio network.
The overall signal project is expected to cost $580 million and is a major part of the Port Authority’s plan to modernize the PATH rail system.The most recent contract, worth $321 million, was awarded to Siemen’s Team for the design, manufacture and installation of the new signal technology, as well as the removal of the old system. Siemen’s Team is a consortium of Siemens Transportation Systems, Safetran Systems Corp. and D/A Builders, LLC.
A $21 million professional management contract also was awarded to Booz, Allen, Hamilton Inc. to help oversee the signal project. Additionally, a $2 million contract was awarded to The Rail Safety Consulting, LLC, which will provide an independent assessment and certification of safety standards for the project.
The project is slated to start later this year with design and field assessments made next year. Installation of equipment is expected to be ongoing by 2011, with testing of the new signals in 2013. Old signals will be removed as the new system becomes operational, with the project slated to be completed in 2017.