February 9, 2018 – TRA Newswire  –

BNSF is the first and only Class I railroad to complete installation of all mandated Positive Train Control (PTC) infrastructure on their network. As the company moves toward meeting the December 31 2018 deadline, BNSF continues to test and refine this highly complex government mandated system.

BNSF has installed the PTC infrastructure on all 88 required subdivisions, covering more than 11,500 route miles and 80 percent of  their freight volume. The railroad is running hundreds of trains daily with PTC as testing in revenue service continues across their entire mandated territory.

PTC is technology that overlays existing train hardware and software. As mandated by law, PTC is intended to prevent:

  • Train-to-train collisions.
  • Derailments caused by excessive speed.
  • Unauthorized incursions by trains onto sections of track where maintenance activities are taking place.
  • Movement of a train through a track switch left in the wrong positio

The cost of installing nearly $2 billion in PTC is just a fraction of the cost of the nationwide rollout by other railroads. The system cannot be considered fully implemented until all railroads’ PTC systems are interoperable. This means another railroad’s locomotive can access another railroad’s network and still have PTC protection.

Interoperability of PTC systems between Class I, commuter and short line rail carriers is a vital concern to BNSF.  The company is unable to test interoperability on a wide scale until other railroads have also completed their infrastructure installation. In North Texas BNSF is not yet able to test PTC on the Trinity Railway Express, which is lagging behind on installation.

In cooperation with Metrolink in Southern California, a PTC-equipped train can now begin its journey on BNSF and seamlessly transition to Metrolink territory. Metrolink can do the same with BNSF – an important achievement since one of the primary purposes of PTC is to provide protection where railroads run freight and passenger service.