Metro-North, LIRR give PTC update

Aug. 21, 2020
Both railroads remain on schedule to have PTC fully operational throughout the networks by the end of the year.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) remain on track to fully implement positive train control (PTC) by Dec. 31, 2020, which is the federally-mandated deadline to have the technology operational.  

Last week, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) released the railroads’ Second Quarter 2020 PTC Progress Reports. FRA classified two commuter railroads as “at risk” of missing the end of the year deadline. Neither Metro-North nor LIRR are at risk, but the region’s New Jersey Transit is considered at risk of being in non-compliance with the mandate.

Both Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi and LIRR President Phil Eng called the progress both railroads have made to implement PTC evidence that both railroads will reach full PTC functionality by the end of the year.

Metro-North has wayside PTC operability on the entire system east of the Hudson River. The railroad says its diesel trains, as well as all of its electric trains on the Harlem Line and Hudson Line are operating in PTC. Technicians are bringing PTC software to the New Haven Line’s M8 electric cars, which will allow New Haven Line trains to enter PTC operations in October.

“I congratulate our team for achieving this milestone and encourage everyone to keep the momentum going through the end of the year, when all trains will be operating with PTC,” said Rinaldi.

On LIRR, all train cars now have the equipment and software to operate PTC. Technicians are continuing to review performance and perform quality checks on a train-by-train basis to ensure that all trains are operating in PTC by the end of the year.

The LIRR has brought full PTC functionality to 94 percent of its track mileage, with the remaining six percent within areas of switching complexes at Jamaica and at Harold Interlocking, a complex of switches in Sunnyside, Queens, where LIRR meets Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor tracks for the connection to Penn Station.

“Bringing the hardware and software to enable PTC on 100 percent of our trains is a major milestone that our workforce should be proud of. This reaffirms our commitment to improving safety for our riders and employees,” said Eng “I commend the entire team for their dedication and hard work and know they will continue with a full court press to meet the federal deadline so every train is operating in PTC by the end of the year.”

MTA explains PTC is interoperable with other railroads sho share the tracks, including Amtrak and freight railroads, on all the segments that have been activated with PTC.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.