Call to Action: Congress Needs to Extend the Positive Train Control Deadline

Rail-served IWLA members must urge their Senators and Representatives to extend the Jan. 1, 2016 deadline to comply with the positive train control requirements. On Oct. 2, IWLA signed a letter on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that a “potentially catastrophic shut down of the American rail system” will ensue if the deadline is not extended.

Positive train control (PTC) is a safety feature that stops trains before an accident happens. A PTC system is a highly advanced technology that uses data from the trains operation—such as speed, weight, or size—to recognize a danger and safely stop a train. In order to fully adapt all trains to the PTC system, the railroads must gather certain data related to the tracks and switches, as well as install the systems and update radio/dispatch systems to interact with this new technology.

A complete upgrade of an outdated system takes time. The railroads are asking Congress to give them an opportunity to make these changes and avoid potential failure points in the future.

According to the letter: “Railroads, rail shippers and all stakeholders need Congress to pass legislation that will ensure that rail service will not be disrupted as a result of the PTC implementation deadline. Our organizations support PTCs full implementation. We urge Congress to ensure PTC is implemented on a workable timetable that will allow the railroads to install this complex technology and that prevents a nationwide rail service shutdown.”

IWLA needs your help to speak directly to Congress. Please send your letter of support to extend the PTC deadline, thereby improving the safety and security of our rail network.

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