BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A safety system that can prevent train crashes remains a work in progress, and Congress is getting fed up.
After granting a number of extensions in the past, legislators want the deadline met by the end of this year.
The system is called positive train control, or PTC, and is only operational on 45 percent of freight routes and 24 percent of passenger routes. It’s up and running along Amtrak’s northeast corridor, and in a hearing, members of Congress do not seem inclined to extend the deadline for full compliance.
“There is not a single person on this side of the table that’s going to sit here and just quietly accept the next accident after that deadline,” said Massachusetts’ Representative Michael Capuano.
The response from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Juan Reyes was “we’re ready to do anything we can to push these railroads to comply with the December 31st deadline.”
Many railroads are actively working to install PTC technology, but there are some that have yet to begin work, which is complicated and time consuming.
According to Amtrak’s CEO, “the most important and most difficult part of PTC work is all the trackside sensors, antennas and equipment, so that the train can signal its position and its speed and its location.”
Technology the NTSB has repeatedly said will prevent train crashes.