Maloney Grills Federal Officials on PTC Implementation at Metro-North, Long Island Railroad
WASHINGTON – After recent train accidents were found to be positive train control (PTC)-preventable by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) grilled federal transportation officials on the status of implementation of this critical train safety technology ahead of a 2018 deadline. Rep. Maloney, a leader on railway safety, specifically asked about implementation of PTC on Metro-North and the Long Island Railroad. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates both lines and secured a loan to implement PTC by the end of 2018.
Click here to watch Rep. Maloney’s questioning
Rep. Maloney’s Commuter Rail Passenger Safety Act, was passed by the House of Representatives in 2015. The legislation would make all positive train control installations "priority projects" as part of the $35 billion Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program that currently provides loans and loan guarantees to railroads. Although the legislation was not signed into law, the FRA decided to voluntarily allow the use of RRIF funds for PTC implementation. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which operates both Metro-North and the Long Island Railroad, received a loan through the RRIF program in 2015 to implement the technology to meet the December, 2018 deadline for implementation.
December’s Amtrak derailment in Washington State was ruled to be PTC-preventable, and caused by speeding around a known high-hazard curve. Rep. Maloney has also passed legislation to require railroads to reduce risks around these curves. In December 2015, Rep. Maloney’s Passenger Train Derailment Prevention Act of 2015 was signed into law, which requires passenger railroads and freight lines on which passenger rail travels to identify high-hazard curves, like those involved in the Spuyten Duyvil and Philadelphia train derailments, and take actions to enhance safety through modification of existing ATC or other signal systems, increasing crew size, installing signage at those locations, installing of alerters in cabs, and increasing crew communication.