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

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As reported in our last update, toward the end of 2015, Congress and the President authorized a 3 year extension on the deadline for freight lines and inner city and commuter rail systems to install Positive Train Control (PTC) systems.

While this will give some transit systems a longer window to complete infrastructure improvements, for SEPTA, the extension effectively resets the clock on our deadline for the final phases of the project. It also changes the FRA's time frame to review our submissions and provide comments prior to issuing their final approval. We are working cooperatively with the FRA on two important requirements:

  • SAFETY PLAN: submitted for review; received back partial comments
  • IMPLEMENTATION PLAN: plan revised and resubmitted at the end of December, 2015 in accordance with the new legislation requirements

With work 100% complete on our signal system, the communication system, and car fit-out on the Silverliner IV and Silverliner V fleets, our internal efforts are focused on:

  • Electric Locomotives/Cab Cars Fit-Out - SCHEDULED TO BE COMPLETED EARLY FEBRURARY
  • Control Center Software Installation - COMPLETING FINAL STAGES OF TESTING
  • Employee Training - SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETE

Pending completion of these efforts and final approval from the FRA, we are hopeful that the rollout of our PTC system can begin in February. As currently proposed, SEPTA implementation, for our Regional Rail Lines will occur in 3 phases with each phase taking several weeks to complete:

  • Phase 1: Deploy PTC on our Single Track service (inbound and outbound service using the same track) beginning with the Warminster Line
  • Phase 2: Deploy PTC on our Two Track service Lines
  • Phase 3: Deploy PTC where we operate Multi-Track Service (more than 2 tracks)

Amtrak is currently operating their PTC system, called the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES), on the Northeast Corridor and they expect to add the Harrisburg Line in February. In preparation, we are currently testing our cars (non-revenue service) to see how our system interfaces with theirs. Deployment of our PTC equipped vehicles within Amtrak service territory will be interspersed in the phases noted above.

Developing the SEPTA PTC system has been a complex, multi-year project but the benefits we gain make this a strategic investment in the safety of our system. We are working hard to minimize the impact to customers when we transition to PTC but SEPTA is the first transit agency to put ACSES on a commuter rail system so we won't have the benefit of lessons learned from an industry peer.

The rollout schedule is designed to give us time to react and make adjustments as needed but as with any new technology there will be issues and we ask for your continued patience and support as we build a safer system for our customers.


November 2015 Positive Train Control Update

June 2015 Positive Train Control Update