July 23, 2019 - TRA Newswire -

Union Pacific implemented Positive Train Control (PTC) on 1,081 route miles in the second quarter of 2019, bringing required PTC-operated route miles to 14,678 or 86 percent. Implementation efforts continue to ensure PTC interoperability with other freight and passenger railroads operating on Union Pacific tracks by 2020, as allowed by federal law.

PTC was implemented on all required passenger routes in 2018 including in Texas where Amtrak runs both Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited trains.

Positive Train Control is an advanced system designed to automatically stop a train in advance of potential hazards. The system is designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, movements through misaligned track switches and derailments caused by excessive speed. It does not prevent grade crossing accidents by vehicles that try to cross tracks to beat a train.

According to Union Pacific, one of the most challenging parts of PTC implementation is ensuring system interoperability among all U.S. rail lines and locomotives. Given the various readiness levels of North American freight and passenger railroads, including publicly funded commuter lines and short lines, all railroads have to work together to maintain the health, safety, resiliency, and fluidity of the rail network during PTC implementation.

Union Pacific completed PTC installation on required route miles and employee training. PTC education is ongoing as Union Pacific retrains employees and introduces the system to new employees. Training materials for the Class 1 railroad are tailored to a variety of employee roles, including engineer, conductor, dispatcher, maintenance of way/engineering, mechanical, signal, telecom and information technologies.

With the FRA's conditional approval of Union Pacific's PTC safety plan on April 26, 2017, Union Pacific is running PTC operations on nearly 15,000 miles in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Union Pacific and freight and passenger railroads continue working together to safely implement PTC on the remaining 2,384 required route miles.