Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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AAR President and CEO Ed Hamberger
Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 told a Senate Commerce Committee panel that, despite investments of roughly $2.8 billion since 2008 on implementing positive train control (PTC) to meet the Rail Safety Improvement Act deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, the freight railroads have determined it will not be possible to have a fully interoperable nationwide PTC system up and running by that time.
“Due to both technological and non-technological challenges that have arisen throughout the implementation process, the current 2015 deadline should be extended by at least three years, to Dec. 31, 2018, with flexibility given to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to consider additional extensions should they be deemed necessary,” Hamberger said.
“A lot of progress toward implementing PTC has been made to date, and railroads are working extremely hard to meet the 2015 deadline, collaborating with federal regulators and suppliers all throughout the process,” Hamberger said. “There will be a lot of PTC implemented throughout the nation’s rail network by 2015, but there will not be a fully interoperable system in place by then. While the deadline is important and something we never lose sight of, it is paramount that we end up with a PTC system that allows for the safe passage of both passengers and freight.”