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Freight Rail Policy Stance: Freight railroads are committed to developing, installing and implementing Positive Train Control (PTC).
Why This Matters: PTC is a set of highly advanced technologies designed to make freight rail transportation — already one of the safest U.S. industries — even safer by automatically stopping a train before certain types of accidents occur.
Key Takeaway: The Class I freight railroads are on track to meet all statutory deadlines for this important safety technology, which will add another layer of protection to America's rail network.
PTC is an unprecedented, advanced set of technologies that will automatically stop a train before certain human error incidents occur. Under the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (RSIA), passenger railroads and Class I freight railroads must install PTC on main lines used to transport passengers or toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) materials.
PTC will prevent:
PTC will not prevent:
The RSIA originally called for passenger railroads and Class I freight railroads to install PTC by the end of 2015. Congress extended the deadline in October 2015 and established benchmarks for installation and implementation because they recognized rushing development and installation would sharply increase the likelihood that PTC would not work as it should. The Class I railroads are on track to meet all statutory deadlines.
Installation Deadline: December 31, 2018
Implementation Deadline: December 31, 2020
A further extension up to 24 months is available to railroads that meet the 2018 installation deadline requirements. This allows railroads enough time to test and ensure that the system is fully interoperable. Interoperability means that the system works with any PTC-equipped locomotive running on any of the railroad tracks through the United States where PTC is required.