SEPTA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Background on Positive Train Control


In the aftermath of a deadly accident involving a freight train and commuter rail train, Congress passed the U.S Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which directed that many freight lines and all intercity and commuter rail operations install Positive Train Control (PTC) on their systems and have it operational by December 31, 2015. In November of 2015, Congress and the President agreed to a 3 year extension (December 2018) to install PTC; and the deadline for full implementation was further extended to December of 2020 if a transit or freight operation can demonstrate that certain criteria/milestones have been met.


What is Positive Train Control (PTC)?


In the simplest terms, PTC is the next generation of signal safety equipment that works to further reduce the chance of human error by:

  • Regulating train separation
  • Avoiding train-to-train collisions at track crossover locations
  • Enforcing line speed continuously including temporary speed restrictions
  • Protecting rail worker wayside safety zones
  • Regulating grade crossings that are out of service
  • Preventing a train from running over a mainline switch set in the wrong position


The Federal Railroad Administration is the regulatory agency responsible for determining if a commuter rail or freight carrier's signal system is compliant with the law.



Positive Train Control
- Why SEPTA Benefits


SEPTA PTC Strategy



Four Major Initiatives


Keys to Success



Cost of the PTC System


Lessons Learned



Continuing to Build the Safety Culture at SEPTA


Other SEPTA Regional Rail Safety Initiatives



Related Projects, Resources & Information