Wabtec to implement PTC system for Virgin Trains USA

June 17, 2020
The company will equip 90 freight and commuter locomotives with its I-ETMS train control technology.

Virgin Trains USA has awarded Wabtec $120 million in agreements to implement signaling and train control systems for the agency.

Wabtec says the project is a unique high-speed signaling and train control application for the North America market.

“This is a great opportunity to work on one of the most unique rail projects in the United States,” said Rajendra Jadhav, president of Wabtec’s Signaling, Communication and Wayside business. “Virgin Trains USA is the only privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail service in the country. Our [Positive Train Control] solution provides a robust path for Virgin Trains to meet its project schedule and goals.”

Under various contracts, the Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation will be executed in two phases. In the first phase, Wabtec will install its Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS®) PTC safety overlay on Virgin Trains USA’s 67-mile rail corridor between Miami and West Palm Beach, Fla., including a back-office system and fitment of both freight and commuter locomotives. Phase two entails the installation of I-ETMS along the West Palm Beach to Orlando rail corridor. Wabtec will conduct the complete design, material integration, construction, system integration, project management and train control implementation and deploy a wireless crossing activation system for high-speed trains. 

In total, Wabtec will equip 90 freight and commuter locomotives with its I-ETMS train control technology. Separately, Wabtec will deliver signal design and implementation services for the phase two portion of the project.

“Safety is our number one priority and PTC is a critical part of that mission,” said Michael Cegelis, executive vice president, rail infrastructure, Virgin Trains. “Wabtec’s PTC technology has an impressive track record in the rail industry, and this was the right solution to support the safe operation of our growing rail network. In addition, the simplicity of accommodating new and modified infrastructure to the system, and train operational efficiencies were features that were influential in selecting the I-ETMS technology.”

As an on-board geographic database and global positioning system, I-ETMS provides an additional safety overlay by continuously calculating warning and braking curves based on all relevant train and track information including speed, location, movement authority, speed restrictions, work zones and consist restrictions. Intended to help prevent track authority violations, speed limit violations and unauthorized entry into work zones, I-ETMS provides enhancements to rail safety.