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The implementation of automatic braking systems on the country’s railroads was operational on nearly 90% of route miles required by law, Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory told a Senate panel July 31. The status of the implementation marked a 4% increase since the year’s first quarter.
The nation’s railroads are required to have in operation positive train control (PTC) systems by Dec. 31, 2020.
“FRA will continue to work diligently and collaboratively with all stakeholders, including railroads, railroad associations, and PTC system vendors and suppliers, to help ensure all railroads subject to the mandate fully implement FRA-certified and interoperable PTC systems as expeditiously and safely as possible,” Batory said in prepared remarks to the Commerce Committee.
The panel’s chairman, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), emphasized the technology’s potential benefits to commuters, and freight shippers, as well as the need for interoperability.
“Full PTC implementation requires, among other things, that railroads be interoperable or, in other words, they must be able to operate seamlessly across tracks owned by different railroads,” Wicker said. “Achieving interoperability requires coordination across the rail industry, including between the Federal Railroad Administration, host railroads, tenant railroads, vendors and suppliers, and other stakeholders. This undertaking is particularly complex in regions of this country where multiple railroads interact.”