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

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Positive Train Control Update

May 12, 2016

On Monday, April 18th SEPTA opened a new chapter for safety on our Regional Rail system with the launch of the Positive Train Control (PTC) Signal system on the Warminster Line.

Getting to this date took months of preparation and testing. Still, we knew from past experience that even with all of our advanced effort, we wouldn't know if we'd anticipated all of the operational and equipment issues until the system went live for regular revenue service. So it wasn't a surprise that the first 2 days were not totally challenge free, especially in the area of on time performance. Thanks to the attention of our train crews, vehicle and signal personnel and Control Center staff we quickly identified operational and system issues needing adjustment including additional software upgrades that we're currently working to complete. With PTC, by the end of the first service week, the Warminster Line on time performance was nearly back to normal. At this point, we have returned to pre-PTC numbers.

The goal for making this strategic investment was to enhance safety on our Regional Rail system by being able to:

  • Regulate train separation
  • Avoid train-to-train collisions at track crossover locations
  • Enforce line speed continuously including temporary speed restrictions
  • Protect rail worker wayside safety zones
  • Regulate grade crossings that are out of service
  • Prevent a train from running over a mainline switch set in the wrong position

Within the first 2 days of operation, we saw the benefits of PTC when a truck struck the grade crossing gate at Old York Road near Willow Grove Station and we were able to use the PTC system to protect the out of service grade crossing equipment.

Now, almost one month into regular service operation with PTC, the Warminster Line is performing well and we are ready to continue the rollout of this important safety signal system to the rest of our Regional Rail Lines.

You may have seen recent news reports about our next steps. We are confirming that May 23rd is the date. We're still working on the last operational details but the next Regional Rail Line to begin service under the PTC signal system will either be Fox Chase or the Lansdale/Doylestown Line between Doylestown Station and Glenside - look for an announcement next week.

We greatly appreciate your support and cooperation as we've worked to bring this important safety system to our Regional Rail network and we ask for the continued patience of our customers as PTC is introduced on their Line.

Previous Positive Train Control Updates

April 28, 2016 Positive Train Control Update

March 18, 2016 Positive Train Control Update

February 26, 2016 Positive Train Control Update

February 19, 2016 Positive Train Control Update

January 2016 Positive Train Control Update

November 2015 Positive Train Control Update

June 2015 Positive Train Control Update