Positive Train Control
The Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2008 mandated that the Federal Railroad Administration initiate rulemaking to require railroads to install Positive Train Control (PTC) systems for certain lines carrying passengers or freight by Dec. 31, 2015.
The Federal Railroad Administration issued a notice of proposed rulemaking July 21, 2009. TFI submitted comments on Aug. 31 supporting implementation of PTC systems with some concerns. TFI’s comments supported PTC systems throughout the freight rail mainline system – not just on lines carrying TIH materials; limiting PTC to just TIH lines will further pressure shippers of these materials with high rail rates and/or other restrictions; and expressed concern with using 2008 year rail traffic. FRA issued a final rule Jan. 15, 2010 requiring PTC on certain passenger lines, lines carrying TIH, and using the 2008 year rail traffic. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) filed a lawsuit challenging the FRA regulations and the FRA, in settlement, agreed to modify the rules. In Congress, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) introduced S. 301, to make corrections to the PTC requirements.
The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials also held a hearing on PTC in March 2011. TFI submitted a statement for the record requesting a rigorous cost benefit analysis of PTC as there may be other safety improvements projects with potentially greater benefit; and bringing to the committee’s attention that the railroads could use PTC to raise rates until rail transportation of TIH materials is no longer economically feasible.