Two federal agencies recently awarded $197 million in grants to state departments of transportation, transit agencies and commuter rail lines to help them deploy crash-avoiding “positive train control” systems.
Those systems use a combination of technology that include trackside signals, antennas connecting trains with global positioning satellites and distant dispatch centers, and gear inside the locomotive that can take control of a train’s braking under certain circumstances to help prevent crashes.
The Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration jointly announced in a Federal Register notice that the PTC grants would fund 17 projects in 13 states.
The single largest grant, for more than $33.7 million, went to the New York State DOT to implement positive train control on the Amtrak-controlled section of the Empire Corridor Hudson Line, which is a federally designated high speed rail corridor that spans multiple jurisdictions along 94 miles from Poughkeepsie to Hoffmans.
The grants include an $18.9 million award to the Illinois DOT to complete the design, delivery, installation, testing and certification of a PTC system on two contracted routes for Amtrak’s use that make up 14.7 route miles of the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis’ right-of-way into and out of St. Louis.
The Missouri DOT will use $12 million in federal PTC funds to deploy PTC over about 8.5 miles of Kansas City Terminal Railway right-of-way where Amtrak operates in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The Maryland Transit Administration, a unit of that state’s DOT, will use $9.44 million on a project along the Maryland Area Regional Commuter line’s tracks within the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor. It will equip 11 MARC cab cars with PTC and deploy the system over 77 miles on the Penn Line between Washington, D.C.’s Union Station and the northern limits of MARC service at Perryville, Md.
The Massachusetts DOT’s MBTA train system will tap $7.8 million in federal funds to install a back-office system for PTC that consists of an existing cab signaling system with automatic train control supplemented by the addition of the latest revision to an advanced civil speed enforcement system.
The Florida DOT will use a $1.84 million grant to deploy a computer-aided dispatch system, track database and communication network along 110 miles of the Central Florida Rail Corridor.
The Oregon DOT will apply its $1.2 million grant to install and test PTC equipment on two ODOT-owned trainsets operated by Amtrak for the regional Amtrak Cascades intercity passenger rail service that connects Eugene, Ore., to Vancouver, B.C.
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