Safety is Amtrak’s top priority. Amtrak is a leader in the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC), a safety technology designed to match train speed to track conditions for improved safety. Positive Train Control provides an added layer of safety.
- All Amtrak-owned or controlled track had Positive Train Control (PTC) in operation Jan. 1, 2019, except approximately 4 miles of slow-speed track in the complex Chicago and Philadelphia terminal areas. We expect to have the Philadelphia area complete this winter, and Chicago in early spring. Also, the 135-mile segment of track from Dearborn to Kalamazoo, Michigan, has PTC installed and in the testing phase, however, final vendor and regulatory approvals will occur in March.
- As of Feb. 8, 2019, more than 16,000 miles of host railroad-controlled track is operating with PTC. These are the tracks owned by others that Amtrak uses for most of its route network.
- Eighty-four percent of all route miles are operational with PTC on the overall Amtrak system.
- We have implemented operational risk mitigations across the remaining approximately 5,000 host railroad track miles that will not have PTC operating. These sections of track have been granted by the FRA a PTC exemption (MTEAs) or alternative schedule for PTC implementation. Approximately 1,500 of the 5,000 miles qualify for MTEAs.
- Mitigation examples include: Posting of signage to remind the locomotive engineer on approach to a critical speed restriction, the locomotive engineer required to communicate signals observed to the conductor, speed restrictions at areas known to be at risk of track obstructions, targets indicating switch position, existing wayside signal system, cab signal system with Automatic Train Control, Automatic Train Stop
- In November 2018, Amtrak submitted an application to the FRA for an alternative schedule to allow for interoperability testing with our freight and commuter partners and for the potential for some limited technical issues to arise during testing. Amtrak’s alternative schedule request was approved by the FRA on Jan. 4, 2019.
- As we evolve the PTC system, customers might experience minimal service delays. For real-time service information on Twitter, follow @AmtrakNECAlerts for the Northeast Corridor and @AmtrakAlerts for long-distance trains. To help minimize any issues that might arise, including operational impacts from the implementation of PTC, Amtrak has a help desk to manage incidents, which will be tasked with the responsibility of real-time allocation and vendor escalation to implement solutions.
To read more about PTC, please review the materials we have provided below, as well as our safety fact sheet. This includes quotes and PDFs of testimonies from Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, an in-depth presentation discussing the technology, and links to the FRA for additional PTC implementation reports. You can also access our PTC video here and our photo album on PTC training here.