The head of the Federal Railroad Administration, Ron Batory, named names as he released a 2019 4th quarter report of railroads that may be in jeopardy by the end of this year in implementing Positive Train Control systems mandated by Congress.
Tarrant county's TEXRail, owned and operated by Trinity Metro is among the eight railroads listed.
The FRA's status report on on the risk of non-compliance by December 31st is based on several factors. They include the percentage of route miles, revenue service demonstration, technical bugs, interoperability issues with other railroads operating on the same line and a PTC required safety plan. Short line railroad Fort Worth Western uses part of the TEXRail line which runs regional passenger rail service from downtown Fort Worth to DFW International Airport's terminal B.
The American Public Transportation Association announced 4th Quarter 2019 statistics for commuter railroads required to have PTC in place.
As of Dec. 31, 2019, PTC systems were in revenue service demonstration mode or in operation on 55,601 route miles, or 96.3 percent of the nearly 58,000 route miles subject to the federal mandate. The Association of American Railroads reports that PTC is in operation on 98.5% of required track miles on Class 1 freight railroads that includes BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
The eight railroads at risk of not being certified for having PTC in place by the end of 2020 are: Alaska Railroad, Chicago's Belt Railway, Florida East Coast Railway, Kansas City Terminal Railway, New Jersey Transit, New Mexico Rail Runner Express, Chicago Metra and TEXRail.
The FRA report indicated in a news release that of 42 railroads required to implement the safety technology, most are in either advanced field-testing mode or already operating in revenue service.
FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said that "the vast majority of railroads mandated to deploy and operate interoperable PTC systems have shown significant progress. I strongly urge those railroads that haven’t yet commenced RSD, conducted interoperability testing, or submitted PTC safety plans to intensify their efforts and take advantage of FRA’s technical assistance.”
Editors note: Positive Train Control (PTC) is an advanced system designed to automatically stop a train before certain accidents occur. PTC can prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive train speed and train movements through misaligned track switches. It does not prevent striking vehicles at crossings, trespassers on railroad property, track structure failures or equipment that breaks down.