Federal agencies Regulation Rail

FRA revises rule on Positive Train Control systems

Washington – The Federal Railroad Administration issued a series of amendments to its requirements for Positive Train Control systems in a final rule published in the Aug. 22 Federal Register.

Positive Train Control is an integrated system for controlling train movements, including emergency braking. Following several severe railroad incidents, Congress mandated that PTC systems be installed by the end of 2015, and FRA issued a final rule in 2010 requiring the technology to be used on all major rail lines, including commuter and inter-city passenger routes.

The new final rule is intended to address concerns raised by stakeholders. Effective Oct. 21, the rule amends FRA’s PTC regulation by:

  • Revising the de minimis – or low risk – exception for freight-only track segments
  • Adding a new exception for certain PTC-unequipped freight trains to operate within PTC systems
  • Revising existing regulations related to en route failures on a PTC system, and adding new provisions related to other failures
  • Making technical changes to other signal and train control regulations, and to FRA regulations governing highway rail-grade crossing warning systems