Earlier this year, Steve Bolte, Danella’s VP of Business Development, moderated a two hour long discussion panel on Positive Train Control (PTC) at the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association’s (NRCMA) Annual Meeting located in Marco Island, Florida. Participating in the distinguished panel was John Leonardo, General Manager Wayside Train Control – Canadian Pacific, Jim LeVere, VP Engineering Signal, Telecommunications and NCS – BNSF, Carl Walker, Chief Engineer Communications and Signal – CSX, Jay McAndrew, General Director Signal – Union Pacific, Neal Hathaway, Assistant Vice President of Engineering – Signal – Union Pacific, and Tom Hilliard, Assistant Chief Communications and Signal – Canadian National. The discussion was covered on the installation deadlines, benefits, and future of PTC. Also discussed was Precision Schedule Railroading (PSR) and the role that PTC will play in it.
Positive Train Control, or PTC, is a type of train protection system using a system of functional requirements for monitoring and controlling train movements that is intended to add more failsafes and automated safety features. It’s called Positive Train Control stemming from “control engineering”, in which the train is only allowed to move in case of positive movement allowance, rather than when receiving a negative signal. In the absence of a positive signal allowing train movement, the train automatically stops. PTC was mandated to be implemented by the railway industry via the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 in direct response to the 2008 Chatsworth Incident in which a freight train made a head-on collision with a commuter train. The unfunded government mandate required the rail industry to develop and implement technology that could prevent a similar accident from happening again, whether due to technology failure or human error.
Danella provides rental equipment to the rail industry, some of which is being used in the installation of PTC. Installing PTC is project based, using rental equipment helps control the cost of installation. The equipment can be simply returned once the project is completed. The railroad or railroad contractor does not have to use capital to purchase equipment, that might be idle once the project is completed. Danella provides many different types of vehicles, construction, and on-track work equipment. Please refer to our rental catalog for more detail.
PTC is an exciting and worthwhile technology. Danella is proud to be contributing to the effort to make railways safer and more efficient.