Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

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Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby NH2060 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:10 pm

Seeing as there doesn't appear to be a thread on the T's PTC-ing (or lack thereof) of the CR lines perhaps the time has come. Here's a quote copied and pasted from a PTC thread in the Amtrak forum to start things off:

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
David Benton wrote:Seven years notice , and they've done zero planning???
If that is not blowing a raspberry to the regulators, i don't know what is .
Does anyone know how much the various railroads have actually spent on PTC implementation to date ?


I can tell you per the MBTA's own FY2016 Capital Improvements Plan just released they have earmarked only $23M...next year...for PTC, with a remaining unfunded cost estimate of $414M for finishing the job: http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/About ... 052615.pdf.

They've spent $1.7M to-date. Total...since the mandate was handed down nearly 7 years ago. And comparing with the figures published in last year's official capital budget (http://www.mbta.com/uploadedfiles/About ... rogram.pdf) only about $450,000 was spent on it last year, less than they were budgeted for. The rest of that total was all 2013 and prior. That's right...they left money on the table and basically took all of 2014 off from PTC planning. They advertised their bids for 220 MHz spectrum acquisition last year...I think was awarded a few months ago and that's what most of the $23M is going towards. I don't think the installation contracts have even been advertised.

This is their 2014 PTC Implementation Plan annual report: http://www.regulations.gov/contentStrea ... ntType=pdf. All 3-1/2 pages of it. In short: they were going to spend most of 2014 having meetings with stakeholders...and the rest was TBD and "we'll get back to you." About the only thing they're set on is rolling stock; all of their locomotives and cab cars are equipped because of the NEC and final retirements of their last non-ACSES equipment this spring/summer with last stragglers now in their final weeks of revenue service. But yeah...less-than bupkis out in the field, in the back office, on engineering or even advertising the implementation bids, and on funding. Compare with the MTA, which took out loans to fund every cent of its $1B implementation cost for both LIRR and MNRR and awarded all its contracts months ago so they had ironclad alibi for having it all in-reach by deadline...only needing the extension for completion of the actual construction in the field.



Yeah...Boston's screwed. Maybe the most screwed of any commuters in the country if the T gets sanctioned for pulling a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Not to mention 2 Amtrak routes going straight in the crosshairs.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:25 pm

When the FRA comes sniffing around,MBTA can claim partial compliance by pointing at the NEC,and all their
Cab Cars and locos on the Southside are rigged for ACSES..... :-)
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby nomis » Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:01 pm

Define "a track section" :wink: :-)

UPDATE 1-U.S. to fine railroads that fail to implement PTC safety system
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/24/usa-trains-safety-idUSL1N0ZA0ZI20150624
U.S. railroads that fail to implement a safety technology system known as positive train control, or PTC, will face federal fines beginning Jan. 1, the top federal railroad regulator said on Wednesday.

Sarah Feinberg, acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, told a House of Representatives oversight panel that the fines could be assessed per violation, per day, depending on a railroad's implementation progress.

"The total amount of penalty each railroad faces depends upon the total amount of implementation progress the railroad has made," she said.

As examples, Feinberg said fines could include $2,500 for failure to keep records and $25,000 for failure to complete PTC implementation on a track section.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:27 pm

Backshophoss wrote:When the FRA comes sniffing around,MBTA can claim partial compliance by pointing at the NEC,and all their
Cab Cars and locos on the Southside are rigged for ACSES..... :-)


Hey, they've budgeted $23M...for fiscal year 2016...towards a $400M+ total price tag. Sure, they've spent less than $2M to-date in the 7 years since the mandate was handed down and under-spent their FY15 PTC budget, but...progress!
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby millerm277 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:41 pm

Well, it looks like the Senate has just voted to give a 3 year extension on the deadline.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/20 ... _that.html

A short quote:

The Senate passed $350 billion legislation to renew federal highway and rail programs for six years, 65-34, but the measure gives railroads another three years to install positive train control.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jul 31, 2015 6:47 pm

millerm277 wrote:Well, it looks like the Senate has just voted to give a 3 year extension on the deadline.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/20 ... _that.html

A short quote:

The Senate passed $350 billion legislation to renew federal highway and rail programs for six years, 65-34, but the measure gives railroads another three years to install positive train control.



Good. Now the MBTA can sit on its hands for 2-1/2 more years before pants-crapping panic breaks out over wasting a full decade procrastinating. :P
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:40 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
millerm277 wrote:Well, it looks like the Senate has just voted to give a 3 year extension on the deadline.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/20 ... _that.html

A short quote:

The Senate passed $350 billion legislation to renew federal highway and rail programs for six years, 65-34, but the measure gives railroads another three years to install positive train control.



Good. Now the MBTA can sit on its hands for 2-1/2 more years before pants-crapping panic breaks out over wasting a full decade procrastinating. :P

What will the House do? Compromise, extension but no money???? Kick the can down the road and hope the new Republican president liberates the railroads from over-regulation?
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby dbperry » Thu Sep 24, 2015 10:32 am

AFAIK, the extension did not pass.

According to this report about the Fiscal Control Board's first report, "The board also wants to further examine positive train control, a technology that could help prevent train crashes."
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/0 ... %3Atwitter

"examine?" What in the world? How about I "examine" the idea of paying taxes, or registering my car, or doing anything else required by law?

And there is this report out of NY/NJ today:
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/n ... -shut-down

I can't imagine the country will actually shutdown on 1/1/16 because nobody has PTC. But nobody is blinking in this game of chicken yet.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:01 pm

dbperry wrote:AFAIK, the extension did not pass.

According to this report about the Fiscal Control Board's first report, "The board also wants to further examine positive train control, a technology that could help prevent train crashes."
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/0 ... %3Atwitter

"examine?" What in the world? How about I "examine" the idea of paying taxes, or registering my car, or doing anything else required by law?

And there is this report out of NY/NJ today:
http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/n ... -shut-down

I can't imagine the country will actually shutdown on 1/1/16 because nobody has PTC. But nobody is blinking in this game of chicken yet.


The press and spokesflaks frequently get their terminology crossed up rapid transit vs. RR. When they say "examine PTC", that means prepping for CBTC installs on Blue/Red/Orange like NYC and many many other worldwide HRT systems are doing. And taking a second swing at the Green Line LRT CBTC study to try to find an engineering solution that 1) ensures stop enforcement to end the rear-ender risk; 2) relieves some of the human judgement pressure off dispatching with more computer guidance; and 3) can be done without harming service levels. The previous study they commissioned a couple years ago outlined the challenges there with #3 and sets up the next steps of delving more into the engineering nitty-gritty. Now they just have to get on with it and fund that engineering study.

RR PTC is mandated. Now, the T has been just about the single-most flagrant loafer at actually doing squat for that deadline in 3 months and are going to quite rightly get taken to the woodshed because not even a 5-year deadline extension gives them enough time to roll it out. But that's all old news. Nobody at the fiscal board woke up this morning thinking, "Maybe we should 'study' PTC before we get shut down on January 1 or fined into oblivion". The deadline's been officially logged in 7 years worth of Governor co-signed capital improvements reports.


I would wager that the rapid transit "CBTC is synonymous (sorta) with PTC" is exactly what they're referring to, because that "PTC" terminology has been used in that context before in some of their less precisely-worded official documentation. It's an open question whether the end result will be feasible, but they have a responsibility to do a full workup because they can ill afford to have another rear-end crash on the GL and not have answers for the NTSB on signal modernization. It's eat-your-peas type homework they should be doing, and clearly an ops expert told the fiscal board that.

Blue/Red/Orange flavor CBTC's a whole lot more straightforward. That can not only serve a state-of-repair purpose by retiring a lot of aging trackside hardware for cheaper-to-maintain and fewer-in-number RFID transponders, but also do the same capacity enhancement that NYC is pursuing. That one is not at all controversial, and Red especially would benefit with better fine-tuning of the downtown traffic clog.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:30 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Blue/Red/Orange flavor CBTC's a whole lot more straightforward. That can not only serve a state-of-repair purpose by retiring a lot of aging trackside hardware for cheaper-to-maintain and fewer-in-number RFID transponders, but also do the same capacity enhancement that NYC is pursuing. That one is not at all controversial, and Red especially would benefit with better fine-tuning of the downtown traffic clog.

Slowing down the service even further as more complexity replaces already unreliable equipment.

The only way to speed up service is to give control back to the person in the cab, and give him the information he needs to control the train properly. If that is best accomplished with relays in little glass housings - so be it!

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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Sep 26, 2015 6:27 am

Gerry6309 wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Blue/Red/Orange flavor CBTC's a whole lot more straightforward. That can not only serve a state-of-repair purpose by retiring a lot of aging trackside hardware for cheaper-to-maintain and fewer-in-number RFID transponders, but also do the same capacity enhancement that NYC is pursuing. That one is not at all controversial, and Red especially would benefit with better fine-tuning of the downtown traffic clog.

Slowing down the service even further as more complexity replaces already unreliable equipment.

The only way to speed up service is to give control back to the person in the cab, and give him the information he needs to control the train properly. If that is best accomplished with relays in little glass housings - so be it!

"TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO REALLY FOUL THINGS UP, GET A COMPUTER!"


Except...that's not how CBTC on heavy rail is faring worldwide. It's proven technology that--unlike RR PTC in this country--is mature, not shackled by FRA regulation making a royal mess of things, and in wide use on systems exactly like (and/or way more complex) than Blue/Red/Orange. And not an anologue to what happened when ATO was installed here. 1-bit ATO signals are painfully limiting the way they're applied here; CBTC would actually roll back the damage that did to service levels on Red and Orange. When NYC completes its 7 train installation (where it is being configured for greater service density) it'll be proven on this continent too on a line that makes Red look like child's play.

Just hire a contractor who's done it before on a system that works correctly (I know, I know...that's always the rub with the T's bid department) and it's pretty hard to screw up the HRT variant. Green Line CBTC is a whole other hornet's nest. Railroad PTC is a whole other hornet's nest (less technologically than the feds making every RR do it with two hands tied behind their backs). The terminology and applications of it are so poorly explained they end up a big jumble, but it's worlds different for the RR mode, the heavy rail mode, and the 'mongrel' LRT mode we call Green. Worlds different in layout and complexity, worlds different in relative risks of screwing up the implementation.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby NH2060 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:15 pm

The White House says it does not support a PTC extension deadline:
“Congress enacted this law, including the December 31, 2015, deadline, and we believe it is important that the Department of Transportation enforce the law that Congress passed,” Frank Benenati, a White House spokesman, said Wednesday, the day after lawmakers released a letter from Amtrak saying it might suspend some passenger service if the delay isn’t enacted.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... -equipment
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby litz » Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:17 pm

We'll see ...

The railroads have the resources to simply shut down and weather the storm.

My bet is Washington blinks, and there's an extension.

Whether that happens before or after a potential shutdown remains to be seen.

But anyone believing the railroads won't do it (and I'm talking both passenger and freight here), is going to end up on the wrong side of a game of chicken.

I heard one estimate that a 30 day nationwide shutdown would cost the GDP a good 30billion.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby octr202 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:14 am

Globe article out this morning on PTC not particularly encouraging, still expecting to miss the new 2018 deadline by a couple years:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/1 ... story.html

MBTA plans safety upgrade for commuter rail

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to spend an estimated $451.3 million to install technology meant to prevent accidents such as the Amtrak derailment that killed eight people in Philadelphia in May.

The fiscal control board that oversees the agency on Monday voted 4-0 to approve the contract to install what’s known as “positive train control” on all commuter rail lines that don’t already have it. The technology is designed to automatically slow trains on certain stretches of track.

The project could mean weekend shutdowns for commuter rail lines starting in March 2017 and continuing into 2018. Officials said the shutdowns would accelerate installation and save money.
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Re: Post-PTC Deadline: What Happens Next?

Postby dbperry » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:17 am

I didn't know the extension had been passed. Here is a brief blurb confirming the details

The bipartisan legislation extending the deadline to December 31 2018 was passed by the House of Representatives on October 27 and by the Senate the following day. The legislation also empowers the Transportation Secretary to approve further extensions of up to two years for individual railways on a case-by-case basis.


http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/infr ... years.html
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