Rail Legislation

Lawmakers approve deadline extension for Positive Train Control

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commuter train

Photo: gk-6mt/iStockphoto

UPDATE: This brief was updated Oct. 29 to reflect the bill being approved by the Senate.

Washington – Railroads would have until the end of 2018 to implement Positive Train Control technologies as part of legislation approved Oct. 27 by the House of Representatives and Oct. 28 by the Senate.

Both chambers of Congress agreed to extend the deadline for railroads to install PTC systems, which are intended to prevent train crashes due to human error. Railroads have warned for months that they would not be able to meet the initial deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, and some railroads threatened to stop service rather than operate in violation of the law.

The legislation states that railroads would have to submit progress reports no later than March 31, 2016, and every year thereafter until PTC systems are fully implemented. The Secretary of Transportation also would be tasked with conducting annual reviews to ensure railroads are complying with the updated plan.

At press time, the bill including the PTC extension awaited President Barack Obama’s signature.