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Report: Most railroads are ahead of PTC deadline

Workers install positive train control equipment on the

Workers install positive train control equipment on the LIRR on Oct. 26, 2016. Credit: MTA

The Long Island Rail Road is not at risk of missing a December deadline to have positive train control technology up and running on its trains and tracks, according to a new federal report.

The report from the Federal Railroad Administration follows the progress made by railroads throughout the U.S. in installing the crash prevention technology, commonly known as PTC, which uses radio transponders to automatically stop a train before it becomes involved in a crash.

According to the report, out of 40 railroads, nine are at risk of missing a Dec. 31 federal deadline to have PTC functioning on at least a segment of their systems.

The nine railroads do not include the LIRR and its sister MTA railroad Metro-North—which were both identified by the federal General Accountability Office in February as among the railroads that “may not have allocated sufficient time,” to meet the deadline.

The only railroad operating in the region that is considered at risk of missing the deadline is New Jersey Transit.

According to the new report, through June, the LIRR has already installed 97 percent of PTC hardware, acquired all the necessary radio frequency spectrum, and trained 2,336 out of 3,194 employees, but has not made sufficient progress in demonstrating PTC functionality on a segment of its rail system.

An LIRR spokeswoman said last week that the railroad is “committed to outfitting our system with PTC as we work toward full federal compliance by the end of 2018.”

The FRA reported that 14 railroads have already met federal compliance standards, and that, overall, railroads showed “significant improvement” in reaching their PTC goals in the second quarter of 2018.

“While we are seeing progress among a majority of railroads, we want to see everyone meet their requirements,” FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said.

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