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

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Positive Train Control

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.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is honoring the SEPTA Positive Train Control Project with a 2019 National Recognition Award (being presented May 2019).

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