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NJ Transit plans to install positive train control technology before deadline

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Positive train control technology monitors a train's speed and location, and activates braking as necessary to comply with speed restrictions and territorial limits.
Positive train control technology monitors a train's speed and location, and activates braking as necessary to comply with speed restrictions and territorial limits. - ()

NJ Transit may be prevented from accessing New York City’s Penn Station and the Northeast Corridor if NJ Transit does not install positive train control technology on its trains by Dec. 31.

PTC technology monitors a train’s speed and location, and activates braking as necessary to comply with speed restrictions and territorial limits.

The U.S. Congress set the deadline for installing PTC technology for all railroad organizations. PTC technology provides a system capable of “reliably and functionally preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a main line switch in the wrong position,” according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Lisa Torbic, senior public information officer at NJ Transit, said NJ Transit will do “everything within our power to meet the federal PTC implementation deadline.”

Amtrak President/CEO Richard Anderson, testified Thursday before a congressional committee about railway safety about the implementation of PTC technology.

“Under the present rules, Amtrak cannot permit non-compliant equipment to be used over our railroad after the deadline and we will be working closely with our partners and the [Railroad Administration] to determine the best way to address this situation,” Anderson told the committee.

He cautioned that Amtrak could encounter scenarios outside its control involving other rail carriers not implementing the technology by the deadline, which would impact Amtrak. If these scenarios happen, Anderson said Amtrak would “suspend operations until such time as the carrier becomes compliant with the law.”

Anderson said Amtrak is teaching its 1,300 locomotive engineers and 2,200 conductors to use their knowledge of operating trains in conjunction with the technology.

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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