Rail industry will not meet deadline for positive train control, association claims


Washington – The rail industry will be unable to meet Congress’s 2015 deadline for installing positive train control – in part because of delays caused by the Federal Communications Commission, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Congress set a deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, for the rail industry to install the emergency slowing and stopping systems – which are intended to help prevent crashes and derailments caused by human error – on safety-sensitive passenger and freight railroads. In a report released April 16 to the Federal Railroad Administration, AAR claims that only 20 percent of the required railroads will have fully operational positive train control installed by the deadline because FCC is taking too long to conduct environmental and historical impact evaluations on 20,000 of the communications antennas needed for the systems to operate.

The report states that other causes for the delay include the late availability of software needed for the systems to function, the difficulty of mapping a fluctuating nationwide rail network and the time required to properly test the technology before it can be fully operational.