FRA announces changes to positive train control requirements

May 16, 2012

Washington – Railroad companies will have more of a say in whether they install positive train control or other safety technologies, according to a Federal Railroad Administration final rule (.pdf file) published May 10.

FRA ruled in 2008 that all rail lines that regularly carry passengers or large amounts of cargo must install PTC by December 2015. Under the new final rule, railroads will not have to conduct risk analyses to obtain approval to not install PTC on rail lines that carry no passengers or only minor amounts of cargo. Companies on those lines also will not have to conduct risk analyses before performing alternate safety measures, such as installing wireless communication devices instead of hundreds of miles of landline wire along the rail.

The changes comply with President Barack Obama’s call to reduce or modify regulations that incur unnecessary or “excessively burdensome” costs, Department of Transportation officials said.