As the December 31, 2018 deadline approaches for freight, passenger, and commuter railroads to implement Positive Train Control (“PTC”), the Federal Railroad Administration (“FRA”) is reporting on the progress of individual railroads in complying with the mandate.

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act and mandated that certain railroads carrying passengers or hazardous materials are required to install PTC. The FRA describes PTC as a “communication-based/processor-based train control technology” designed to prevent “train-to-train collisions, overspeed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a main line switch in the wrong position.”

Congress initially established December 31, 2015 as the deadline for railroads to implement PTC, but later extended the deadline to December 31, 2018.[1] Railroads may receive an additional extension of time to comply if the following statutorily mandated criteria are satisfied: all PTC hardware is installed, all necessary spectrum is acquired, all relevant personnel are trained, a revised PTC Implementation Plan is submitted to FRA, and the railroad has made sufficient progress on Revenue Service Demonstration.[2]

The FRA report of railroad PTC progress is collected from the railroads Quarterly PTC Progress Reports and FRA’s latest data is current up to the first quarter of 2018. In this latest update, the FRA is reporting:

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  • Railroad Progress Towards Meeting Statutory Criteria for an Alternative Schedule (i.e., extension)
  • Latest PTC Implementation Status By Railroad
  • PTC Implementation Status By Freight and Passenger Rail

This latest railroad status report is located on FRA’s Positive Train Control website.