The self inflicted Positive Train Control mess

This entry is just for the really hard core railroad enthusiasts. All of whom, I am sure, are quite aware of the continuing saga regarding the implementation of Positive Train Control on US railroads. 

My readers will recall that the US Congress passed a law, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, requiring Positive Train Control (PTC) after the horrific Metrolink train wreck in California in 2008. The deadline for the implementation was going to be the 31st of December 2015. As was to be expected, most of the railroads were unable and unwilling to meet this dead line. The railroads dithered, hemmed and hawed, lobbied Congress, paid off politicians and wrung their collective hands. They then finally threatened to bring the US economy to a stand still by shutting down altogether, if Congress would not extend the dead line for PTC implementation. 

Well, Congress caved in the form of the "H.R. 3615, the Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015" and thus the railroads got their extension. Interestingly enough, some form of automatic train protection has been in use in Europe for over 100 years. One wonders why we can not do it here in the US. In a quite à propos commentary in Railway Age Magazin a bit of a light is shed on this subject and it certainly presents an interesting angle to the controversy. Read it here.

More on the subject of PTC:

From the Federal Railroad Administration, click here and here.

From the Association of American Railroads, click here and here.

From the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association, click here